Supporting young London
Over the past five years the long-term youth unemployment figure has risen by 240% across the country, the highest level for any generation so far. In London, this statistic translates into 1 in 4 young people being unemployed.
One way to support young people is to offer apprenticeship schemes, an option that has been heavily pushed by the media in the last few weeks. Julius Rutherfoord launched its apprenticeship scheme in July 2012, hiring an apprentice for the Finance & Accounts Department.
Tyrone Winn, Financial Controller, Julius Rutherfoord:
Why did you decide to take on an apprentice?
There has been significant news coverage on the difficulties faced by young people entering the work place, and the current economic climate has only exacerbated the situation. As a socially aware employer we look to be a good citizen in the environment we operate, and as a growing business, ensure we are building for the future.
In your opinion, what does the apprentice bring to the company and what does the company give back to the apprentice?
Whenever we are hiring new employees within the Finance department, or any other department for that matter, the personal attributes we look for, are motivation and a willingness to learn. An employee on the apprentice scheme meets these criteria in abundance, and with few preconceived ideas can easily be indoctrinated into the company culture. We have a strong focus on cross training and giving our staff the opportunity to experience different roles in the department, which will give the apprentice a well-rounded understanding at the end of the process.
Are you happy with the decision to take on an apprentice, what are the biggest advantages so far?
Very much so. The apprentice is subject to your normal T&C’s, making the employment process straightforward, and with partial funding for the courses from the Skills Funding Agency it makes it economical method of educating staff. Our first apprentice, Sophie, joined us in July this year and she has already exceeded our expectations with the work that has been allocated and is now a valuable member of the team.
I chose the apprentice route because I feel that’s it’s the best way to get work experience and at the same time learn the skills I need to become a fully qualified member of the team. As I progress through my qualifications I will become a more valuable employee and my earning abilities will increase accordingly. I have gained new skills and knowledge; moreover, I have experienced new and different challenges”.
As with all our staff, we pay our apprentice more than the required minimum. This ensures that the apprentice feels more motivated and, more importantly, adequately appreciated. Due to the success of the Julius Rutherfoord apprenticeship scheme, more young people will be offered an opportunity within the company in the near future, for instance in the Marketing Department.