Apprenticeships supporting local talent at Phoenix Software


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Based in Yorkshire, Phoenix Software (Phoenix) are a Microsoft Azure expert managed service provider. They provide a range of IT solutions and managed services across the public sector, specialising in licensing, cloud transformation, infrastructure and software asset management.

Intequal work with Phoenix to support their talent acquisition and growth plans through apprentice recruitment, work-based training and programme management. We spoke with Phoenix to hear why they think attracting local talent through apprenticeships is an integral part of their successful business growth.

Why did Phoenix choose to invest in apprenticeships?

Richard Barwick, a former apprentice himself and now Head of Service Delivery at Phoenix, explained “We used to be a much smaller team. We would each wear several hats but were rapidly getting swamped due to the volume of enquiries from customers requiring troubleshooting that those on the helpdesk did not have the skills to support.”

Richard knew first-hand the benefits of employing apprentices and how they’re eager to learn more about IT while gaining work experience. This seemed like the perfect solution to provide 1st Line support to customers while freeing up more experienced staff to work on the complex troubleshooting activities.

Thomas Siron, Service Desk Manager, explained more about the apprentices’ roles. “The first-tier role, where the apprentice begins, provides a rich environment to gain lots of early career experience. Managed service customers all have different estates, some using legacy technology and some rapidly changing and evolving to adapt to today’s use of technology. The apprentice acquires new skills during their training, while applying their knowledge to troubleshoot differing customer support needs.”

How has Phoenix benefitted from having apprentices?

Phoenix initially took on two apprentices so that they could learn and work together. These apprentices are both still with the company, and when they were promoted, Phoenix recruited new apprentices to fill their 1st Line support jobs. Richard describes this rolling programme of training and development as “a production chain of training people, gaining knowledge and skills from those ahead of them who have completed their apprenticeships, as well as working alongside other more experienced professionals on the team.”

Emma Taylor, Training & Development Manager, added, “Another benefit of taking on apprentices is that the training is mapped out for these new employees through the apprenticeship, which saves a lot of time and effort for managers. Supported by Intequal as their training provider, the apprentice has a structured process of learning new skills and adapting in practice rather than their line manager having to create a training plan themselves. The line manager can focus then on teaching our company nuances, culture and our customer and sector characteristics and needs.”

How does Phoenix use apprenticeships to support local talent?

“Our ethos is about generating, nurturing and retaining home grown talent,” Emma told us. “We ensure that we effectively support new starters throughout their apprenticeship and then subsequently enable them to work their way up by providing next level career opportunities.”

Emma continued, “It’s great to see our young starters grow in confidence and maturity during their apprenticeship with us too. Three of our recently qualified apprentices have gained promotions, either moving into sales roles or as team leaders.”

“Another benefit of taking on apprentices is that the training is mapped out for these new employees through the apprenticeship, which saves a lot of time and effort for managers.”

Emma Taylor, Training & Development Manager

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