We currently take on approximately 5 apprentices a year, in office administration, data team, PE (Teaching Assistant), IT and Facilities as follows:
- We use two main training providers, West Suffolk College and Lowestoft College, who support the apprentices on-site;
- In the beginning, teams and departments had to be encouraged to take on apprentices but now they really want them. They are seen as such an asset for example in PE, all the apprentices have been really proactive and provide a key support role. Two of our previous PE apprentices went on to study teaching at University and have teaching posts at other schools;
- Advertising in local press has produced the best results in terms of the quality of applicants. The Business Manager gets involved in all the apprentice interviews which also involve some time with the team and on the job tasks, to enable us to assess the right fit;
- Having a younger outlook is really positive, and they bring lots of enthusiasm. They are great for succession planning and a ‘try before you buy’ (they are employed as apprentices for 1 year and then if you have a vacancy they are ready to go straight away);
- Many departments would suffer without them as they are a support to permanent staff, and it frees up time for other work;
- We always interview at least two applicants for each post, and if we have any doubts, we don’t recruit them. We spend time looking at the applications to see if they have examples of a good work ethic such as Saturday jobs or voluntary roles i.e. Scouts etc.
We can’t promise a permanent role on every occasion so we are clear with apprentices at the outset.