The customer services team at Gedling Borough Council deal with 80% of enquiries from the general public. Due to the huge volume of customer queries, the council decided to hire apprentices to help keep up with demand.
Due to the council being extremely busy dealing with public requests, they required an apprentice training agency to help with the whole process of recruiting and training apprentices.
Vision Apprentices met with the council to discuss their needs and help them with the process. Here’s how Vision Apprentices recruited for the position on the council’s behalf:
- Met with the council to get an understanding of the post
- Drew up a job description
- Advertised the vacancy
- Shortlisted candidates based on their abilities
- Worked with the council to decide which of these applicants would fit in well
- Conducted telephone interviews
- Wrote reports based on the performance of the interviewees in the telephone interviews – and handed them over to the council
- Invited candidates to a formal interview with the council
In the end the council were able to take on two candidates – both school leavers with little experience in the working world, but eager to start employment.
The apprentices are currently three months in to their Level 2 Customer Service apprenticeship, and are very appreciative of the support provided to them by Vision Apprentices, “the support available has been very adequate and helpful” – with a representative from Vision Apprentices visiting the council roughly every three weeks to check on their progress and to offer any additional support.
Both apprentices are really enjoying their time at Gedling, and are pleased they are in a position to grow and learn new skills through the variability of the workload, “the variety of tasks we do really does make you versatile.”
Speaking about the apprentices, their Customer Services manager, said “there are some fantastic talents out there, and I think it’s crazy not to take up that opportunity” hiring young people can bring fresh ideas, different outlooks, and new skills to a business. The reasoning behind hiring apprentices rather than appointing new personnel was to give young people, with little experience, a new and exciting opportunity – helping them get on the career ladder.
In some ways, Gedling has benefitted more than the apprentices from this experience – according to their manager, the apprentices’ have brought a better insight into new communication techniques.
The council have been so overwhelmed with the apprentices that they suggests other private sectors should hire apprentices to bridge the skills gap, and bring in fresh ideas, “apprentices do work and I think it’s important for all sorts of local authorities to give young people opportunities”.