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HCIG providing pathways to employment

HCIG – providing pathways to employment

Youth unemployment has again flared up in the national headlines as the impacts of the Eurozone crisis spreads across Britain. However it’s not all doom and gloom for UK’s 15-24 year olds, with the National Apprenticeship Service revealing applications for apprenticeships are up 53% on last year, as & lsquo;earning while you learn’ becomes an increasingly popular option.

A keen supporter of apprenticeships, Human Capital Investment Group (HCIG) has been providing pathways to employment for 25 apprentices over the past 16 months, placing them into critical business areas including finance, sales, accounts, HR, IT and marketing.

HCIG COO Adam Herron says investing in people has always been the core DNA of HCIG’s activities, with development of talent a key part of the company’s entrepreneurial culture and strategy for growth.

“Working in the recruitment sector people are our business. We are committed to growing businesses and launching careers – this is why we encourage our clients and companies to continually attract and advance the skills of all employees whether through apprenticeships, leadership academics, training workshops or any other of our company learning and development initiatives.”

HCIG’s dedicated Learning & Development Director, Paul Wheeler, says given the success of apprentices within HCIG, companies jump at the chance of helping a young person to get qualifications.

“We actually don’t have enough apprentices to meet demand,” Wheeler explains. “When selecting apprentices we look for good attention to detail which is normally demonstrated by high results in English and Maths. But importantly it is the attitude they have when you meet them – a willingness to learn and passion and desire to work in a certain area.”

HCIG’s first apprentice, Lauren Auguste, was placed in HCIG’s marketing team, which services the needs of 10 recruitment agencies in HCIG. Since starting in July last year, Lauren has set a high standard for other apprentices to follow.

Over her 16 months with HCIG, Lauren has been providing daily marketing support as well as working on individual projects across the business, learning valuable new skills and specialist programmes including content management systems, InDesign and Photoshop.

“I knew that the experience I would gain from an apprenticeship would be more valuable to employers than coming straight from college, as I would be dealing with business issues face-to-face rather than writing about them,” Lauren says.

“I spent one year at college and did not learn half as much as what I know now – being in real life situations enables you to progress much further.”

Lauren has rapidly advanced through her apprenticeship, and is now on track to finish three months early, but once completed, would like to “continue down the marketing route”.

“Hopefully I will get a full time position at HCIG if not then I will look around for marketing assistant roles in London,” she added.

Lauren’s manager, HCIG’s Senior Marketing Executive Marty Jaynes, says over her apprenticeship her confidence and standard of work has grown exponentially.

“Lauren is now a valued and trusted member of the marketing team – we give her tasks and projects to complete without supervision. With the amount of responsibilities we have given her I sometimes forget she is only 18.”

Jaynes says as well as the bonus of taking on someone with the passion to learn, “it is also very fulfilling to watch someone grow and develop under your guidance to be able to complete projects on their own and to an exceptional standard”.

However he advises that it’s important to keep apprentices motivated “by not just giving them rubbish admin jobs” and for managers to be aware of their impact as a role model.

“Apprentices are eager and keen to learn and absorb as much as possible but you need to be prepared to be a teacher and sit down with them to ensure they are learning the right way and not picking up your bad habits.”

Eden Brown, HCIG’s largest recruitment agency, has a number of apprentices providing valuable recruitment and sales support. Principle Consultant with Eden Brown, Natashja van der Westhuizen, says she is very proud to contribute to the start of her apprentice’s – Natalie Gardiner – career.

“Natalie is so reliable and learns very quickly. She hardly had any experience before she started with me and she has come very far – I feel so proud of her. She is fun and great to have on the team and her enthusiasm is really refreshing.”

Natalie decided to do an apprenticeship as a way of easing her way into full time work, while enjoying the benefits of “earning while you learn and meeting people who could be useful contacts in the future and could help me further my career”.

“I would recommend doing an apprenticeship as it is a good place to start your career and helps you to understand working life better.

“However, prepare yourself as it can be hard work jumping straight into a full time job.”

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