CHLOE BOURNE AND FRANCESCA RUBIE, PROFESSIONAL TRAINING TEAM, HW FISHER AND COMPANY
What benefits do you see with this group of talent?
The number of school leavers not wishing to attend university has grown significantly in recent years, resulting in a vast talent pool of students of a certain age looking to gain a professional qualification. By developing a school leaver programme, we have expanded our workforce and created excellent opportunities for this growing talent pool. In the past we would only recruit graduates to study for AAT and ACA but, by implementing the school leaver programme, we are now able to differentiate clearly between the role and responsibilities of an office based AAT student and an ACA trainee. Upon qualifying as an AAT, most of our students have been/will be offered the opportunity to study towards another qualification such as ACA which enables us to keep the students in the business for an additional three years. Those continuing with the firm are a tremendous support to the other trainees in their intake and are often given more responsibility earlier owing to their previous experience. We have found our school leavers to be very dedicated, professional and committed to both working and studying to obtain their qualifications.
Did you have to change your recruitment processes, and if so what surprised you most in the changes needed?
The recruitment process was modified slightly following the implementation of the school leaver programme. The process involves two stages; the first being a group interview session and the second being a one-to-one interview with two managers from the relevant departments. Every year we attend University Careers Fairs to promote our ACA Graduate scheme; however additionally in the last year, we have also visited schools to promote our school leaver programme and build a rapport with the schools and students.
How has your business reacted to younger professionals being part of the team?
The firm has fully embraced and integrated younger professionals into the workforce. Our apprentices have impressed our managers with their positive attitude, good work ethic and willingness to learn which has induced a positive reaction within the business and highlighted what they can bring to the firm.
How have FI helped in delivering your programme?
FI have helped tremendously in delivering our programme mainly through their continuous support and guidance surrounding the rules and regulations for apprenticeships. They induct all of our students from the outset which clearly outlines the firm’s and training provider’s expectations throughout the programme. In addition, they have designed various workshop days which develop the soft skills of our students. Lastly, they provide constant support to the students with their e-portfolios and hold individual quarterly meetings to ensure the students are on track with their development.