To recognise national apprenticeship week, LSI Partner Ben Goode (second from right) has shared his thoughts on the importance of apprenticeships and how LSI have been able to successfully implement an apprenticeship scheme within the company.
“The skills gap is hindering the development of every business. The skills gap exists because business are unable to or unprepared to take a leap of faith, and are judging potential employees based on skills, which they are unlikely to have. There is a disconnect between educational facilities and real industry that needs to be addressed, so that young people are taught skills that they need to succeed in industry, and not just in theory.
Apprenticeships are key to reconnecting our educational facilities to industry and in doing so helping to bridge the skills gap that is so damaging to industry.
A visit from our local MP, Chloe Smith, led to LSI thinking about how we could do more to offer opportunities to young people locally. Through Norwich4Jobs, a scheme set up to help young people into employment opportunities, 10% of our staff line consisted of apprentices last year, and we are currently in the process of employing another apprentice.
We are incredibly proud of our record of giving young people a chance and are seeing the benefits of this approach. All of the apprentices we have taken on have fitted in well because they have fantastic attitudes. They work incredibly hard, and are learning and improving all the time. We had no difficulties with their attitudes towards ‘work’, and have actually found their fresh energy and outlook to be inspiring. It has given our existing employees a morale boost to see that we are doing our bit to tackle a societal problem. They have been more than happy to engage with and help our young apprentices; both by making them feel ‘at home’ and by passing on their knowledge and expertise.
We do not view our apprentices as any less important than our full-time employees, and they are given work that is very real, albeit with all the support that they need.
Two of our apprentices, having completed their qualifications with us, have moved on to the next chapter of their careers. Another two apprentices, again having completed one stage of their qualifications, have stayed with us and will now start the next level of their qualifications.
At LSI, when we interview young people we look first and foremost for attitude. We know that we can train people, to provide them with the skills, but you cannot train attitude. If they have the right attitude to learn and improve then we always try our utmost to make sure they get the opportunities to do so.
We have built strong working relationships with many educational facilities. We’ve done this by making sure we engage with them as much as possible, so that they know what we need and we know what they need. We do our utmost to attend events, for example a recent college event aimed at construction students where we exhibited some work and some of the exciting new technology in the industry. We received encouraging feedback because we engaged the students, and hopefully inspired them to enter the industry.
Other initiatives include open office events, where we invite students to come and see what we do, or speaking at schools, colleges and universities to tell them about what we do and inspire them to do the same.
As a result of all this, we have been able to forge continuing relationships with educational facilities, and they know that at LSI Architects, providing they have the right attitude, their students will be given opportunities.
We hope that our approach, and the recognition that it has achieved can inspire other businesses to join us in investing in the future.”