The Business Partnership’s Northwich office was formed in 2006 and is run by husband and wife team Alexandra and Paul Dodgshon. The business currently comprises three members of staff – Alex, Paul and their apprentice, William Daynes (Paul and William pictured, left).
Alex, who is in charge of the recruitment and management of apprentices at The Business Partnership said, “I began my working career on a Youth Training Scheme and because of the skills learnt via on the job training I forged a successful career, despite leaving school at 16. My husband – who is The Business Partnership’s Regional Partner – and I wanted to offer the same opportunity to someone else starting out.”
The Business Partnership recruited Will via an advert in the local paper with Mid Cheshire College providing the Apprenticeship support and framework.
Alex continues, “Our business was in need of administrative support in order to ease our expanding workloads. Taking on an apprentice allowed us to benefit from a lower pay scale and government funding which in turn allowed us to employ someone full time – something that wouldn’t have been financially possible otherwise.
“What we have been able to offer Will – and what we will be able to offer future apprentices – is all round development. In return for the commitment from the apprentice, we commit to extended training and qualifications beyond the Apprenticeship, equipping them for their future career path. When interviewing for Will’s position I was very surprised at the lack of basic language, punctuation, spelling and common courtesy displayed by many candidates – this just reaffirmed how valuable the basic skills training is that we can offer as a small business.
Will’s responsibilities include handling and managing general enquiries, drafting marketing material, networking and organising events. The interpretation of company accounts is a key aspect of his role and something we provide ongoing training for within the office.
Will has been with The Business Partnership for almost two years. After completing his 12 month Level 3 Apprenticeship in Business Administration he was employed on a full time contract. He is now studying for a Level 4 Apprenticeship in General Business Studies on day release at college.
Alex continues, “As we expand we plan to take on a second apprentice this summer in more of a sales role. I believe the successful experience that we have enjoyed with Will is in large part down to the investment we have given him. This has included training outside of the Apprenticeship, monthly development reviews and continual feedback – like anything you get out what you put in.
“Although we have already taken on an apprentice, and are ourselves ‘Apprenticemakers’, when recruiting for our sales position we are already taking advice from another ‘Apprenticemaker’ who has experience of recruiting for such a role.
“The world of apprentices was alien to me initially. I think people need to understand that although recruits have the ‘apprentice’ label, they can, and should be treated like any other member of staff. This means that you can trial a person on a probationary contract until you are satisfied they are right for the job. If they aren’t you can let them go. There is no requirement for a business to retain a poor apprentice. However, speaking to other Apprenticemakers will demonstrate how valuable these new staff can be and how to best integrate and support them into your business.”