We applaud the decision by Orchard Information Systems to start an apprenticeship scheme (see page 4) for local school leavers who don’t want to go to university (or perhaps can’t afford it, given the cost of fees these days). The year-long apprenticeships are mutually beneficial, with the apprentices having the opportunity to ‘earn while they learn’ and possibly secure longer-term employment at the end of their apprenticeships, and allowing Orchard to nurture some home-grown talent. No doubt, there are also some valuable benefits to the local community.
While apprenticeships will never replace traditional recruitment and employment practices, they should be part of the recruitment mix, particularly as the underlying ethos of apprenticeships is very similar to the fundamental values of the social housing sector. We would therefore encourage housing providers’ IT departments and their IT suppliers to follow Orchard’s lead and investigate how some ‘bright young things’ could help their businesses while genuinely supporting their local communities.