Jay Tahasildar, director at Milton Keynes based Mercurius IT, explains how taking on apprentices has completely turned around their marketing function. To hear how their digital marketing apprentice became a marketing manager, read our case study with Kathryn Monkcom here.
What was your impression of apprenticeships before you decided to take on an apprentice?
Before our engagement with Baltic Training, we had never hired an apprentice. My impression was based only on what I had heard and read in the public domain and, honestly, my expectations weren’t great. Looking back, I perhaps thought of it as an experiment to see if this kind of recruitment and training would work, with a very low level of real work-related engagement.
How has this changed?
My original impression has changed dramatically. The entire experience for myself and Mercurius IT as a business has been extremely successful and fulfilling. I’m now a big advocate of apprenticeships as a way to recruit and develop the talent necessary to grow our business.
How has taking on apprentices impacted your organisation?
We took on our first apprentice in 2016 as the beginning of our in-house marketing function. We had no formal marketing strategy, no active social accounts and were just relaunching our brand with a new website. We now run a number of ongoing multichannel marketing campaigns and follow a tried and tested strategy that makes us one to watch amongst our competitors.
Within 6 months of that first hire, monthly inbound leads surpassed monthly outbound leads for the first time in our 13 year company history. In financial year 2017/2018, Marketing activities contributed to 62% of total new business revenue.
That first apprentice has now progressed within the business and we’ve been able to take on a second apprentice in Marketing to expand the capabilities of the department. Just this month, our Digital Marketing apprentice Kathryn won Higher or Degree Apprentice of the Year for the East Midlands region at the National Apprenticeship Awards, a fantastic achievement!
How has your experience been with working with Baltic so far?
It has been great. I firmly believe the success of an apprenticeship program depends on 3 key factors:
- Recruiting the right candidate
- Providing the right training
- Maintaining a high level of engagement between the candidate, the employer and the training provider throughout this process
Baltic Training has achieved tremendous success in all three aspects, always keeping lines of communication open to provide a service that is flexible and works for all parties.
What are your opinions on our training delivery method (Online Live)?
The Online Live training method has been both enjoyable for our apprentices and practical for us as a business. Rather than taking the apprentice out of the workplace for a few hours each week and adding extra time for travel, we know in advance when our apprentices will be away from their desks for a week of focused study. Though we place high importance on giving our apprentices a quiet space away from notifications and emails, having them around in the office during this time means they are still on hand for any questions.
From the apprentice perspective, I’ve been able to see how both our apprentices enjoy this style of learning and I’ve observed them grow from the interaction with businesses, not just from our local area, but up and down the country. They are also more confident in their new skills after a week of intensive learning rather than day release spread over a longer period—the knowledge they bring back to their day-to-day role is more solidified.
Would you recommend us and if so why?
I would definitely recommend Baltic Training to other businesses, if only because of the success we’ve had. I’d love to see other businesses replicating that success for themselves.
Find out more about Mercurius IT here.