I’m currently an apprentice at Direct Air and from my own personal experience, I can recognise the benefits that choosing to do an apprenticeship has had for me. But it got me wondering, what are the advantages for my employer? And what about other apprentice’s in different departments?

What better way to find out, then by asking the individuals themselves?!

Meet the management

Allan is the Managing Director at Direct Air. He hired our first apprentice in 2005, and they’re still working here today! Emma Dolby is the Marketing Manager and she works more closely with the Business Admin Apprentice’s, to provide any necessary support.

What made you want to start taking on apprentice’s initially?

“Apprenticeships are an ideal way for us to take on new employees, whilst ensuring that they receive the most appropriate levels of training. We often find it difficult to employ individuals with the necessary experience for the specialised work that we do. So being able to provide our own training program is perfect for our needs.”Allan Dolby (Managing Director)

“We’re always looking to get the brightest talent interested in working at Direct Air. Apprenticeships offer us the opportunity to attract young, local individuals into our work environment. It can sometimes be quite difficult to find people with the specific skills we require, whether that be in the office or working on equipment. Apprenticeships enable us to train and support people straight from the very beginning of their work journey. They then truly fit the Direct Air mould. We are in a privileged position to be able to offer training programmes regularly to apprentices. We benefit from new ideas and points of view entering the business on a regular basis which really encourages our business dynamic to continue diversifying and growing.”Emma Dolby (Marketing Manager)

What are the key benefits for you as an employer and your organisation when taking on an apprentice?

“The benefit to us as an organisation is that as we grow the apprentices move into more senior roles in line with their individual progression. To see a young person, move through the company from apprentice to a senior role is very rewarding.”Allan Dolby 

“Our very first apprentice, Louise, is working with us over 14 years after she joined us so one of the key benefits is definitely staff retention! Alongside this, we’re proud to say apprentices have the opportunity to increase their level of responsibility. They benefit from having an overall awareness about the business, having seen how everything works from the bottom to the top. We’re also very keen to continue upskilling and developing all members of staff. Seeing someone complete their apprenticeship demonstrates how much they are capable of. Due to our business size, we can get government funding from taking on apprentices aged 16-18. While this is an obvious benefit, we want to get the right person for the apprenticeship whether they are 16 or 21. The funding is an added bonus but not a required benefit for us to continue hiring apprentices.”Emma Dolby 

Will you continue to employ apprentice’s in the future, considering the experience you’ve already with past/current ones? If so, why?

“Over the years we have had some excellent success with apprenticeships. Many of them are still with us working in important roles within the company. I am certain that we will continue to invest in apprenticeship positions across the company.” Allan Dolby 

“We’ve recently hired apprentices who are working in roles that support sales, marketing and customer experience. These are roles we’ve never hired specifically for before! So, I’d like to think we will continue growing across the business with apprentices involved throughout.”Emma Dolby 

The apprentice point-of-view

There are currently 5 apprentices at Direct Air and 3 former apprentices who have gone on to become full-time Direct Air staff members. I thought it would be interesting to gain perspectives from different stages of the journey.

What have been the 3 biggest benefits for you during your Apprenticeship?

“My three biggest benefits so far are gaining industry knowledge and skills that can be taken with me for life. Having more confidence to get stuck in and prove myself to others. And being able to work towards a qualification whilst getting on the job experience at the same time.” Reece Frailing, 20, engineering apprentice.

“I’ve achieved my level 2 and 3 qualifications in electrical and mechanical maintenance, as well as my level 3 NVQ practical skills. It has provided me with the basic skills to use within my everyday roles. They have benefitted me by giving me the foundation knowledge needed, when doing jobs on my own or as part of a team. I have built on them and continue to progress every day. Also, the team at Direct Air have really helped me learn new skills and knowledge that’s needed in my role. Each engineer offers a different skill set which I have picked up from working with them on different jobs. They have taught me techniques which I can take away and use when working on my own jobs. Finally, over the course of the apprenticeship I have gained a vast amount of experience. This has also given me the confidence to carry out more complex tasks and continue to progress learning more skills within the company.”Jack Walton, 21, engineering apprentice.

“During the time I have been an apprentice, I have gained a lot more confidence when talking to people on the phone or people in general. It has made me a lot less shy. I also think that this is a great experience because it gives me a very good idea of what work will be like as get I older. Also, at the end of this apprenticeship, I will gain a L2 business administration qualification, which could help me in the future as I would have the qualification and experience.”Lauren Elston, 16, business admin apprentice, service department.