So I’ve made it to the end of this year’s Customer Service Week. Time flies when you are enjoying yourself. Those of you who have been following my blog will know that getting young people into the tech industry is one of the things that I am passionate about and that I have been working on an apprentice loan scheme for a year or so. The idea is that we take on apprentices and encourage them to spend time out with other organisations and businesses.
I want to encourage those businesses that are new to apprenticeships that they are worth the investment in a sort of try before you buy way. I also want to give the young people a chance to develop their skills wider, pad their cv and become more marketable when it comes time for them to find a permanent job. Of our current batch of apprentices, five of them are currently placed with external organisations.
The Institute of Customer Service had today’s them down as ‘Recognise and celebrate’ and so I took that as an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and visit the customers and the apprentices at the same time, in part to see how they are getting on and to understand if the scheme really had legs. Diaries didn’t work out completely however and in the end I could only get to see three. Two were in schools and the other, on that day was helping promote the council’s apprentice scheme at the Louisa Centre in Stanley. That’s right, Smart Stanley.
I won’t go into too much detail but it was great to see the enormous difference in them from when they started. Each of them had matured and were working away doing useful things, contributing to the customer’s business and full of confidence. The year they had spent with us had helped them to understand what work means and now they were able to put it into practice. One of them told me that having the ability to try different areas of technology had changed his thinking about what he wanted to do going forward.
It was a pleasure to meet up with them again and to see the progress that they are making. I am going to try and catch up with the rest over the next couple of weeks, diaries permitting.