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The Credit Services Association (CSA)
National Apprenticeship Week - the value of training and development to employers
“An investment in apprenticeships and training at all levels of a business will drive professionalism within the sector, create a genuine career path for new and current employees, and support business growth."
Chris Shaw is now a Delivery Manager and previously was Learning and Development Manager at First Locate.
First Locate has been in the vanguard of apprenticeships within the debt collection industry, and a passionate believer in the value of training and development. A key champion within the business was Chris Shaw, who works as a training consultant for FWD Training and Consultancy providing apprenticeships in Financial Services, and so has experience on both sides of the training ‘fence’.
“Apprenticeships gave us an opportunity of recruiting new talent into the business,” he explains, “and creating a defined career path for every individual. A particular benefit was being able to shape and train them to do things the ‘First Locate Way’ and give them the qualifications and experience to the extent that other local businesses have come to respect our employees as being ‘best in class’.”
To Chris and First Locate, the business case was simple: investing in people from the beginning leads to real business advantage in the mid and longer terms. Motivated, energetic employees who gain experience of all parts of the business, including front and back office, contribute directly to increased profitability, lower costs, and an enhanced ‘product’ or service.
Benefits to employers - click to enlarge
It is a myth, Chris says, that younger workers do not have the appetite for hard work: “That was not my experience at First Locate nor subsequently,” he continues. “It is certainly true that not all apprentices stay the distance, but those who do share a work ethic that complements and enhances the company culture.”
As an apprentice pioneer, and the successful graduation of its first four cohorts, First Locate has recently taken its pitcher to the well for a second time. The success of the business has demanded recruiting more staff, and more future talent.
In Chris’ experience, companies have moved beyond training as a mere ‘tick box’ exercise, and many see the new Apprenticeship Levy as an exciting step change within the industry: “Apprenticeships are a people development opportunity,” he adds, “and an opportunity for new talent to show what they can do. It will also act as a catalyst for existing employees to step up to the plate, and make themselves even better at the jobs that they do.”
“An investment in apprenticeships and training at all levels of a business will drive professionalism within the sector, create a genuine career path for new and current employees, and support business growth,” he concludes. “That looks to me like a ‘win win’ for everyone.”
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