Stevie Bainbridge: The Beat Suite

Stevie Bainbridge: The Beat Suite

Since establishing Beatsuite.com in 2003, owner/manager Stevie Bainbridge has introduced a number of new graduates and other young people to the business. This year he’s taken on Matthew Soakell through Aim Higher. Matthew is the business’s very first apprentice.

Beatsuite.com is a royalty-free music library and, with just three members of staff, it was essential that it should select the right apprentice.
The business licenses music tracks to organisations all over the world, covering everything from small corporate videos to international advertising campaigns.

Stevie explains how Matthew’s recruitment came about:

“This is the first time we’ve used the Government Apprenticeship scheme. I heard about it through a regional business network. The scheme’s called Aim Higher and it’s based in Middlesbrough. We called them and found out more about how the Apprenticeship works. It sounded pretty good, so we gave it a try.”

An Aim Higher representative visits Beatsuite.com as part of the government stipulated guidelines, which say Matthew must complete an academic qualification as part of his 12-month Apprenticeship scheme.

“I’ve always been keen to bring young people into the business. People with new digital, computing and online skills. Beatsuite.com is still a young business and it’s quite unorthodox – we’re looking for people with open minds who are up for trying new things.”

Because Beatsuite.com is an unusual enterprise, Stevie isn’t looking for specific qualifications, instead he likes working with people who can fit into the micro-business’s small team:

“Anyone working in a very small business like Beatsuite.com needs to have a broad base of skills. If staff are off sick or on holiday then others need to be able to pick up some elements of their role like running the office, opening up and closing and answering the phones. There’s no qualification out there for most of what we do, so we need to mould people, although they must have some core skills. There are a lot of kids out there who have the right skills but there’s also a lot who don’t.”

One of Stevie’s primary concerns when considering taking on an apprentice was that it should be cost-effective. He’s found that as well as being an inexpensive way to bring new talent into his business, the Apprenticeship may well lead to permanent employment for Matthew:

“It was an experimental role within the business – if it went wrong we wanted that cost to be minimised because we’re just a small company. Ultimately, we’re hoping to give Matthew a job. He’s creating his own role within the business. I’ve been really surprised at how motivated, intelligent and keen to work someone can be at just 17 years of age.”

Matthew is a good fit for Beatsuite.com but Stevie was confident from the start that his business was flexible enough to accommodate many different skillsets and personalities:

“If the job hadn’t suited the candidate as much as we thought it would, then there’s a lot of variation in the business for them to work in different areas. As long as they’ve got some core skills, then they can always be useful for us and we can always train young people in different areas.”

Although Stevie didn’t approach other small businesses for advice on Apprenticeships, he has spoken to peers about recruitment more generally in the past.

“When you run a business there’s no one to really ask with the qualifications or the experience to answer your questions properly. You tend to gravitate towards other people who own small businesses or similar businesses. They’re the only people you can really connect with in terms of talking about business.”

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