How Create IT benefit from their apprenticeship investment


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Create IT are a managed service provider based in the southeast offering IT support and solutions to businesses ranging from small accountancy firms to large manufacturers and telecoms giants. Create IT run a successful early careers scheme that embeds IT apprenticeships to support their ongoing local talent acquisition and succession planning activity.

We caught up with Andrew Smith, Technical Director at Create IT, to understand more about why his company chose to offer apprenticeship opportunities, how they benefitted from training such raw talent, and how soon they achieved a return on their apprenticeship investment.

Why did Create IT choose to provide apprenticeship opportunities?

Shortly after Create IT started trading, they were approached by a student at a local college who was studying IT and wanted some practical part-time work experience. They were impressed by the student’s enthusiasm and could see the benefits of having someone getting to know their processes and customers while learning new skills so offered her the position. They were so impressed that they started offering more young people an Infrastructure Technician apprenticeship (now the Level 3 ICT apprenticeship).

What responsibilities do the apprentices at Create IT have?

Most of Create IT’s apprentices work on the helpdesk where they help customers with routine technical issues such as printers that aren’t working or internet servers that have gone down. They form their first-tier team, who are supported by a senior team for more complex queries, and spend most of their day on the phone or answering emails, so communication skills are incredibly important.

Enrique recently completed his IT apprenticeship with a Distinction. He works as a 1st Line Engineer on the helpdesk making direct contact with customers and is also responsible for 2nd Line duties such as dealing with complex cases and taking part in an email migration project. “I like project work the most, and also setting up imaging servers and hardware related tasks such as building the computers,” Enrique added.

How does Create IT benefit from having apprentices working alongside experienced staff?

Andrew told us, “Our business has directly benefitted from apprentices challenging our thinking. Enrique is a great example of an individual that is willing to learn and who is naturally inquisitive, questioning senior colleagues about the solutions they apply. The apprentices’ ideas have helped us improve productivity in areas like making our internal systems more streamlined, so information is quicker and easier to find. Being digital natives, our apprentices naturally look for the straighter route to achieving an action and look to technology to help them get there.”

How does Create IT maximise on their apprenticeship investment?

Andrew explained that apprentices quickly gain real-world skills, and as its combined with on-the-job studying, they’re incredibly valuable compared to graduates coming out of university with the knowledge but no real-world skills.

At the end of the apprenticeship programme, Create IT look to provide a permanent role for the apprentice, as the qualified individual has spent a lot of time at the company and knows much about the business. Andrew said, “It takes quite a while to learn each customer and internal systems so where possible we look to promote internally and then recruit more apprentices to back-fill that entry-level role.” This plays an important part in their succession planning activity and then provides more opportunities to recruit new local talent.

What advice would Create IT give to a company thinking about taking on apprentices?

Andrew said, “If you have not had an apprentice this is very different to just hiring a position. There is a certain amount of effort you need to put in to support development but equally you get rewarded very quickly if you pick the right person. You are gaining a curious, open mind with a willingness to learn and an ability to absorb knowledge rapidly. Once apprentices become skilled and trained up in your business processes and become familiar with your customers, they’re very effective at what they do, and you gain a relatively quick return on talent and training investment.”

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