With so much focus on the those getting their exam results, may businesses will be considering how best to use this new source of talent.

Giving school leavers the opportunity to join the working world is really important. Not only does it provide a boost for the economy, but your company can also benefit from the fresh thinking and enthusiasm young people can bring.

Two years on from the apprenticeship levy launch, Softcat an award-winning provider of IT infrastructure continues to see the benefits in recruiting school leavers as apprentices and continues to expand its Apprenticeship programme delivery. 

Following a heritage strategy of graduate-based recruitment, in 2014 the business adopted a small pilot apprenticeship programme to offer school leavers a way into the sector. Five years, on this programme has seen 119 apprentices complete their training as it continues to pay dividends for both the business and its staff.

“As a business, we felt we were missing out on a valuable source of new talent, so initially, we created our apprenticeship programme as a way to attract, recruit and develop a school leaver audience”, says Softcat’s Early Careers Development Manager, Laura Sneath.

“Our traditional model of graduate recruitment was based around office locations in University towns and cities, but this wasn’t always possible, and we have a number of locations where we needed to target strong schools and sixth form colleges.” 

What started with six recruits undertaking the IT Technical Sales Apprenticeship has since led to five new recruitment cohorts in five years that has seen outstanding results from the apprentices who have gone on to receive promotions to apprentice managers, and deputy leaders within their sales teams.

In addition to the IT Technical Sales Apprenticeship Level 3 standard, which accounts for around 50% of Softcat’s apprenticeship intake, supported by Remit Group, the programme has also expanded to include Digital Marketer, Software Developer, IT Infrastructure Technician and the new Business and Administration Standard which is used across multiple departments to support a range of back office roles. 

“We have enjoyed the experience of bringing apprentices into the business. They are generally younger than graduates and we find that young people entering our business straight from school or college bring with them fresh talent and enthusiasm. They challenge how we do things, and generally keep everyone on their toes”, says Laura.

She adds, “In business operations and technical roles apprenticeships have been used to develop home grown talent organically. We’ve have seen many apprentices excel in the area of the business they join, but others have used their apprenticeship and skills development to move to other roles within the business, helping Softcat retain outstanding talent and increasing our return on investment.”

Apprenticeships are seen as critical to securing the long-term future of the UK’s digital economy. With a growing skills gap and the digital sector continuing to experience significant growth, investment in apprenticeships can bridge this skills gap. The Softcat apprenticeship programme is keeping the organisation one step ahead of the competition in securing future talent, productivity and growth.

If you would like to know more about how to use your apprenticeship levy speak to one of our experts