Candy Redfern – Head of Learning & Talent Development
We are almost one year into the levy, and this week we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week. Many businesses including Bidfood have been able to fully appreciate what an opportunity the Apprenticeship Levy has given us – as far as I am concerned it’s win-win. Not only have we opened our recruitment reach to untapped potential talent – but we have also widened the scope of development to our employees.
Apprenticeships couldn’t be cooler for young people – no longer for those who perhaps weren’t able to go to uni – now many young people are turning down the old establishment for a new way to train which pays you whilst you study, leaving you with no debt, fantastic qualifications and experience to boot!
At Bidfood, we believe in apprenticeships. They are given time for discussion at the senior leadership meeting every month, and each application is reviewed and rubber stamped by the SLT. Why – because we believe in developing our talent and helping our people grow. They are not just words we say – but intrinsic in our value of ‘care’ and delivered though our ‘service excellence’ building block – “Finding and keeping the best”.
We have recently relaunched and revamped our ‘Warehouse to Wheels’ programme, which sees us offer Apprenticeship Driver roles to current warehouse employees, or look to recruit talent in. We can’t escape that our driver workforce is aging – and this is a great way for us to bring young people into these roles and learn from those who really know what it takes to service our customers as well as gain an LGV qualification. We have also recently launched our first operational supervisor programme which will see our nominees complete an apprenticeship and gain a CMI certified management qualification.
My top tips for developing apprenticeships in your business:
- Get to grips with the delivery model you want to use – will you be an employer provider, use individual suppliers or a prime supplier? If you choose to use suppliers as we have – foster great partnership relationships
- Focus on the key skills gaps or employment gaps within your organisation – which roles cause the most pain if not filled
- Support the development needs of your top talented individuals through individual qualification or programme route
- Ensure your internal customers truly understand what 20% off the job means, and look at implementing ways to support this
- Keep a good eye on your digital payment system – check that payments out = payments in!