Further to our coverage of Orchard’s apprentices in last month’s issue of Housing Technology, we thought it would be useful to find out more from the apprentices themselves.
Richard Aydon, who is studying for an NVQ in information and communication technology while working at Orchard, said, “Since leaving school and joining sixth-form college, I’ve discovered that continuing with study-based education just isn’t for me. I’ve always learned best with a hands-on approach which is something you don’t get a great deal of opportunity for at school or college. Orchard has given me this hands-on opportunity and three months here has taught me a lot more about ICT than 12 years of school.”
Danielle Christer, who is working as a service desk apprentice in Orchard’s customer services department, said, “If sixth-form college or university are not for you then try an apprenticeship. You not only learn and gain valuable experience, you also get paid and meet fabulous new people who make you feel very welcome.”
According to the National Apprenticeship Service, apprenticeships bring ‘considerable value to organisations, employers, individuals and the economy’. Businesses are now increasingly realising the benefits derived from apprenticeships, not only in terms of a highly-skilled workforce but also by boosting productivity and staff retention.
Kerry Borrowdale, customer services manager, Orchard, said, “Our customer services department has greatly benefitted from having apprentices in the team. The apprentices bring renewed enthusiasm and the scheme is a route to harness fresh talent. Their eagerness and willingness to learn is very rewarding for those involved in their career progression.”
Christer said, “I am dealing hands-on with different sections of work everyday. Instead of learning what to do through a text book, I am learning by tackling the situations that arise head on. This has made a massive difference to me, my confidence and my belief that work can be fun and not just a Monday-to-Friday, nine-to-five chore.”
Louise Crennell, HR manager, Orchard, said, “Our four apprentices are gaining valuable work experience while completing their NVQ qualifications. In return, Orchard can nurture and mould them – they have very little work experience but we’ve found hard-working individuals with the right attitude and at the end of the scheme, they may have the opportunity to join Orchard on a permanent basis.”