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This week (5 - 9 March) employers across the UK are coming together to illustrate the huge power of apprenticeships in up skilling and developing workforces both to their employees and the wider business world.

To mark National Apprenticeship Week these leading businesses, which include publisher Trinity Mirror, Southend United Football Club, Manchester based Cresta Cars and care provider PSS from Liverpool, are taking part in a job swap.

The initiative, which is being spearheaded by national employment and skills specialist Seetec, will see executives and senior managers from some of the UK’s leading companies open up their boardrooms as they swap roles with apprentices within their businesses for a day.

Seetec MD John Baumback says;

‘Apprenticeships are still surrounded with a level of stigma and negativity that is holding some employees and employers back from fully embracing them.  We have seen first hand that some of the UK’s most successful companies are seeing real benefit from the work they do with us to bring on new talent and develop the staff they already have and help meet their key business objectives along the way.

“This job swap is all about showing anyone considering an alternative route to work that this is a really viable option for them that will result in a successful career with a brilliant company.”

National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from 5 to 9 March, is this year focused on the theme Apprenticeship Works and Seetec’s initiative aims to do the same, as the job swaps look to shine a light on the benefits apprenticeships bring to individuals and employers.

Publisher Trinity Mirror, has 41 apprentices currently learning on the job within the organisation and it has a a clear strategy with targets to grow its new starts in 2018 with a focus on leadership and development.

The business will be offering one of its regional sales apprentices the chance to swap jobs with a member of the commercial team based at its HQ in Canary Wharf.

Kirsty Lynch, Head of HR Media Scotland & Mirror Media/Group Learning & Development Lead, said;

“We already have a number of cohorts taking level 5 management and leadership qualifications and a recently launched level 3 with Seetec.  What’s more we see apprenticeships as integral to our business strategy as we look to grow revenue by increasing focus on digital as print revenues decrease. We are looking to develop digital and harness apprenticeships to support and develop our existing and new talent.

“With this in mind we are utilising panel sessions, hangouts and the job swap across National Apprenticeship Week to communicate to our internal teams just how apprenticeships could work for them. We want as many people as possible to buy into this strategy as much as the other high profile initiatives that are happening across the business.”

Essex based Seetec will also be taking part itself as Managing Director John Baumback will swap jobs with recruitment consultant apprentice Laura Turner, 26.

John joined the organisation as a 16-year-old apprentice and has worked his way up to running the multi-million pound business, which now employs 1,200 staff and Laura helps employment and skills organisation Seetec to recruit apprentices, and works with employers to match them to available opportunities. They will take on each other’s jobs for one day so that Laura can gain a vital insight into management roles within the business.

Laura, from Leigh-on-Sea, said:

“I have only recently started the apprenticeship but I hope it will help me to improve my negotiation skills for managing clients, and help with my personal development.

My goal is to progress within the company to a team leader position.

“The job swap will help me to learn leadership skills, and about building a management team and delegating responsibility to other staff members.”

John Baumback explained:

“I wouldn’t be where I am now if I wasn’t given the opportunity and believed in. There are plenty of young people out there that, given the chance, will be tomorrow’s leaders.

“When you take on an apprentice, you mould them to the culture and ethos of your organisation. You can watch them growing in front of your eyes. Young people make such a difference to the outlook of your business – they understand how to relate and engage with younger audiences, and they have the enthusiasm and new ideas.”

During their job swap on Tuesday 6 March, John and Laura will be visiting Southend United Football Club, where digital marketing apprentice Callum Bishop, will be swapping with his boss, Head of Commercial Rhys Ellingham.

At Southend United, lifelong Blues fan Callum, 18, also from Leigh-on-Sea, said:

“It’s a dream come true to come to work for the club. It didn’t seem real at first, and it’s different from what I expected. I didn’t realise how much planning goes into everything.

“I’ve learned a lot about writing creatively, and about organising things. I’ve also improved my video skills, but most of all I’ve learnt about being professional. I’m working to improve my skills as I hope to get a job here at the end of my apprenticeship.”

Rhys Ellingham said:

“Callum was the perfect candidate for the role, giving himself the opportunity to further enhance his digital skills and gain qualifications whilst also helping the commercial department move forward and increase revenue with his social media, website and video input.”

Bradley Lawson, who is currently completing a Level 2 in Business Admin whilst also working within the corporate accounts department in Manchester based Cresta Cars, is going to swap jobs with his manager Lauren who is also studying for the same qualification.

Bradley and Lauren didn’t start as apprentices but having been given the opportunity to learn on the job both recognise they are an important way for the company to support progression across all levels of its workforce.

Lauren comments;

“My advice for companies wondering about using apprenticeships is to just go for it.  We have found that it has helped to improved our workflow and best practices and that learners’ knowledge grows much quicker within their positions.

More information about the job swaps can be found here - National Apprenticeship Week Job Swap

The 11th National Apprenticeship Week runs from 5 to 9 March, showcasing how apprenticeships work for individuals, employers, communities and for the wider economy. Follow the campaign on social media using #NAW18 and #jobswap

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