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Custard’s Apprenticeships Are on the Right Path

There has been a lot of criticism in the press recently due to former Dragons’ Den star Doug Richard’s ‘Review into the Future of Apprenticeships’. Concern has been raised about the quality of some apprenticeships in the country, and it has been claimed that the term ‘apprenticeship’, has been devalued.

A minority of rogue apprenticeship-providers have been offering short-duration schemes, with some placements lasting as little as three months, in a bid to obtain cheap labour and government funding.

The independent report calls on the Government to improve the quality of the programme, and encourage employers to take a more active role in safeguarding quality, with innovative training.

Custard, an innovative marketing agency based in Greater Manchester, strives to support all apprentices to become fully-fledged members of staff.

Laura Ebanks, Human Resources Manager, said: “We encourage all our apprentices to get them on the right path and career. We offer an extensive amount of sustained and substantial training, as well as job shadowing and personal development.

Here, three of our apprentices will tell you about their own personal stories:

Tom Cafferkey,

21, from Preston, started at the firm two years ago on a business-related scheme, and now he has progressed onto an ICT Level 3 NVQ.

Now he has become a full-time member of the web development team.

He said: “It’s been great working at Custard; they’ve helped me so much because I wanted to go into development and they arranged the course for me to allow me to progress.

“Over the years I’ve learnt all about PR, SEO, social media and how they are all interlinked, and I can now take these skills into web development to focus on making SEO conversion-friendly websites.

“I feel like Custard has really supported me in what I want to do. Instead of taking on an external graduate and employing someone that already has the skills; they trained me into the role.”

Adam Snape,

21, from Preston, started at Custard two years ago on a Business and Administration Level 2 NVQ. Now he is currently in the process of completing an IT Level 3 NVQ.

In the next six months, it is hoped that he will become a full-time member of the web design team.

He said: “Custard has really helped me progress my career. The qualifications and knowledge I have gained have helped me to excel in my work. Whenever I am stuck or need help, someone is always available to give a hand.

“I always wanted to do web design and now I have the ability to transition from one area of the company to another. At school I wanted to do this as my career, and Custard has given me the option to do it which is fantastic.”

“None of this would be in place without Custard pushing me to go for it. Link building was never something I dreamt about doing but I enjoy my job; and now I am being helped to move into web design which is what I initially wanted to do before entering the big wide world, so my career is going in the right direction.

“If the support wasn’t there I probably wouldn’t have asked when the company was expanding. I’ve come a long way since 2010.”

Jake Oates,

20, from Preston, joined Custard in December 2009. He has undergone a Business and Administration Level 2 and 3 NVQ apprenticeships but is now a full-time member of staff.

In the next year, it is hoped that he will become a member of the content writing team.

He said: “As a person, I feel much more mature than I did three years ago and on a professional aspect, I am much more skilled. My confidence has grown a lot and Custard has helped with that.”

“I started out link building and it was never something that I thought I wanted to do. Now the role is completely different due to the way the industry and the company have changed, and it is now more enjoyable.”

“I always knew that I wanted to go into writing whether that was as an English teacher or Journalism. I now know what it involves and I have found a niche here that I can practise those skills. If I was at college or school, I never would have thought or known what SEO was. I was blind but everything I now know I have been taught and Custard has helped me through this.”

“My career has changed a lot and I never thought that I’d be doing what I am, a year ago. I never saw it happening on such a large scale and I feel like I have got a foot in the professional world.

Oates concluded: “A lot more companies should look into offering apprenticeships. Small businesses and trades are known for taking on apprentices but on a bigger scale, businesses should look to move into an avenue of younger people that get into business with minimal knowledge and build themselves up.”


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