Novicell Joins National Apprenticeship Week

This February, Novicell is joining National Apprenticeship Week to share the experience we’ve had with our very first Novicell apprentice Anthony Grice.

National Apprenticeship Week is an annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships across England and is a time to recognise and applaud apprenticeship success stories.

It is a week where employers and apprentices come together to share their experiences and advice to anyone looking for an apprenticeship or to hire an apprentice.

Here at Novicell, our Head of Operations, Oliver Boothroyd, will be answering your questions on Twitter on Thursday 6 February, between 12:00–14:00 under the #AskTheEmployer hashtag.

Our apprentice Anthony shares apprenticeship experience in this blog post

Meet the employer

Novicell was established in Denmark where it’s very common to take on student workers. Our UK office was keen to replicate the general ethos of our Danish counterparts and that is why we decided to join the Apprenticeship Scheme in the UK.

Our Head of Operations, Oliver Boothroyd, shares more about the benefits of taking on an apprentice and also gives his advice to any company looking to hire their first apprentice.

What are benefits of getting an apprentice?

Hiring young talent can be tricky at times. Hiring talent with a vested interest in their own future, complementing their studies, makes it easier to select the right person for the job.

By virtue of what they are doing, apprentices are encouraged to be curious and to find out about other areas of our business. As part of their training, they shadow teams outside of their key competencies. This has helped teams not in our digital marketing department to gain a better understanding of what they are doing, creating a link that otherwise would only have existed when a project demanded it.

What advice would you give employers looking to take on an apprentice?

First, I think it’s important to be realistic about their baseline skill level, but not to write them off as someone who has no knowledge. There is a balance to be struck and each apprentice will have their own level when they join. Some may have done some prior training or practical work; others may be very new to their industry. What does not change is their eagerness to learn and to grow.

Second, be sure to manage your own expectations before they join and dedicate the appropriate amount of time to them in your day-to-day. Take a look at the size of your organisation and ask yourself how much time you can commit. It’s not overly time-consuming to take on an apprentice, but you need to remember that they may just be at the start of their employment journey and will need a certain degree of guidance.

Novicell has more than 300 people globally, but 24 people locally. We quickly realised that our plan to hire multiple apprentices for our local office was overly ambitious. The ‘one-at-a-time’ approach matched our capabilities and, most importantly, our availability to ensure our apprentice got the necessary attention.

What has been Novicell’s experience with apprenticeship so far?

We hired Anthony in December 2019 as a Digital Marketing Intern specialising in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Hiring Anthony was a learning curve in itself. We tend to define career progression over the course of employment rather than before someone starts at Novicell. We had to do some serious thinking about what our expectations were with regards to Anthony’s progress over the first year.

Very quickly he proved himself to be extremely proactive and hands-on in the role, taking on customer work within three weeks of starting. To put this into perspective, his progression plan only expected this to happen in month 3!

Anthony has now been working with us for the best part of two months. He’s doing a great job at balancing the responsibilities of self-study and off-the-job training with his actual work. This is to a large degree thanks to his mentor, Darren (Senior SEO Consultant), who is setting daily tasks, involving him in client work and generally mentoring him in the ‘dark arts’ of Search Engine Optimisation.

We’re also very grateful to Estio Training, the company who will provide Anthony’s training, and who found him for us in the first place. They have provided a good level of information on what to expect from Anthony, and also on what we need to be aware of in terms of our own responsibilities. As a small organisation with limited resources, this help was invaluable.

Learn more about our apprentice Anthony and his experience with the Apprenticeship Scheme in this blog post.

Want to hear more about Novicell?

Novicell is a digital consulting company with more than 20 years of experience in both Digital Marketing and Software Development.

We are always on the lookout for more people to join our London office. Check out our vacancies, and you are more than welcome to reach out to us if you have any questions.