Nikki Westwood, Learning and Development Manager with Encore apprentices

£1M Apprenticeship Budget for Leicester Recruiter

Leicester headquartered recruiter, Encore Personnel, is shining a light on the success of its impressive apprentices in celebration of National Apprenticeship Week 2023, showcasing the importance of further education.

Encore, which has recently been acquired by Gi Group Holding, one of the world’s largest HR solutions and staffing companies, is leading the way this National Apprenticeship Week by proving that apprenticeships are for everyone, through supporting their staff with both practical and hands-on education.

Nikki Westwood, Encore’s Learning and Development Manager, said: “Here at Encore we have a £1M levy pot to support Apprenticeships across the business as we feel this is a worthy investment. Over the years we have seen great success for our employees as their qualifications have supported career growth and rapid progression. We are here to support all of our staff studying with practical work-place learning aiding in their qualification success.”

Research from CIPD has found that 80% of employers have maintained or improved future skills in  businesses through apprenticeships, additionally, 70% of employers have seen improvements in the goods and services on offer and 66% of employers have experienced a boost in staff morale through hiring apprentices.

Proving you don’t have to be straight out of school to gain qualifications through apprenticeships is Tara O’Reilly, Divisional Manager at Encore, as she commented: “Nikki put me onto the Level 3 Recruitment Consultant NVQ in 2020 while I was an Account Manager, which took me 12 months to complete. In recruitment you think you know it all, by that point I had two years of experience within the industry but the qualification really helped me to understand the regulations and compliance side of the job which helped me to be promoted to Assistant Manager in 2021, and then in December 2022 I was fast tracked to Divisional Manager. I have seen some quick career progression which I would definitely say has been supported by the NVQ which has pushed me to get to where I am now.”

“I originally trained as a teacher, but now I am six years into my recruitment career, armed with extensive knowledge and understanding of the industry.”

Research has found that apprenticeships have helped to combat stagnant productivity growth within the UK economy by reducing unemployment post-programme, which supports Encore’s work to boost the number of apprenticeships within their company and encourage the further development of its staff, with 15 individuals currently enrolled in programmes.

Highlighting the more traditional route for apprenticeships is Libby Barrett, who joined Encore straight out of school. Libby said: “I started as a Business Admin Apprentice within our HR department during 2020, I didn’t want to go to college, I just wanted to start work and get earning some money. I had no clue what recruitment or HR was when I began my apprenticeship, but I have now recently qualified as Business Admin, hoping to move forward to another development programme alongside my work at Encore. I am passionate about the value of apprenticeships; I really think others should consider this route more.”

Alongside Encore’s support for apprenticeship schemes, the recruiter also provides an Early Careers Onboarding programme aimed at taking care of the small worries young people may have when entering a professional working environment.

Nikki commented: “Libby was the brains behind our onboarding program as she realised how little she knew about the basics of a professional working environment straight out of school. I think companies can often overlook a young person’s lack of experience, so we have worked with Libby to create a detailed guide to take care of the details, such as workspace dress code.”