Estate agency Grays & Co was so impressed with the calibre of young people on the Fast Forward to Apprenticeship Programme, run by East Riding of Yorkshire Council and funded by Jobcentre Plus flexible support fund, that it hired one of the young people from it.
Grays & Co, who have an office on Mill Street, Driffield, deal with residential and commercial sales and lettings across the East Riding and taking on an apprentice has made a tremendous difference to the company, allowing them to keep competitive and grow their business in spite of the uncertain economic climate.
Sam Greenwood was spotted as part of a Hire Me campaign organised by the council’s employment and skills team, which aimed to showcase to local employers the talent on offer from potential apprentices. Young people from the training programme attended a recent Federation of Small Business event where they had the opportunity to pitch themselves to a local employer. Chris Ray, a director at Grays & Co, said: “We are growing, but it’s a tough climate out there, so one of the options that we considered back in 2011 was recruiting apprentices across our branch network. We have always sought to recruit people with no previous experience in the industry to train them in the Grays & Co way so have always tended to attract ambitious and keen local young people, a great opportunity for us to start from scratch and get people really involved in our business.
“The apprenticeship route has given us access to a pool of ambitious people who also get to benefit from extra qualifications as well as the work place experience they gain from us.
“Our 2011/12 apprentice Tom Hyde has gone on to become a permanent and key member of staff as an administrator and so as the business continues to grow we have decided to recruit two more to work in our branches. Sam will be working with our lettings and commercial departments to provide admin support to these fast growing arms of Grays & Co.”
Grays & Co has recruited apprentices from the council’s employment and skills team before and has been running an apprentice training programme for 18 months.
The council assisted Grays & Co in finding candidates suitable for the role of business admin apprentice. The business was told about the AGE 16-24 grant available and a representative came out to see the company with suitable CVs of candidates. The vacancy was also posted on the National Apprentice Service vacancy matching service.
After pitching himself at the event last month, it was Sam who was successful in getting the business admin apprentice post.
Chris said: “It was great to see so many young job seekers get out of their comfort zone and put themselves in front of potential employers. A huge part of our business is about putting ourselves forward and making things happen, so this commitment is a big part of what attracts us to these candidates.
“The big challenge in the past has been finding the right people. However, with the Fast Forward to Apprenticeship Programme and the vacancy matching service on the National Apprenticeship Service website, I was presented with a high number of suitable candidates. The whole process of recruiting an apprentice is actually a lot easier and quicker than you would think and I’d encourage local businesses that are looking to expand to seriously consider offering an apprenticeship.”
Sara Arnold, employment and skills manager at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “Often people fail when applying for an apprenticeship vacancy because they haven’t known where to look for apprenticeships on offer, are unsure what is out there and don’t understand how an employer expects them to perform at interview. Fast Forward to Apprenticeship aims to address this problem by working closely with suitable, motivated candidates and put them in front of employers in the region.”
Councillor Jane Evison, cabinet portfolio holder for economic development, tourism and rural issues at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “The current economic climate is challenging both the public and private sector. This council is committed to helping residents find employment and training, especially younger people, and Fast Forward to Apprenticeships provides an excellent starting point.”