Computer repair company D&J Henry says its business has grown five-fold after hiring apprentices.
By taking on apprentices, the Coventry-based firm has grown from 15 employees to 74 over an 18-month period. The apprentices were supplied by training provider Pearson in Practice though its Zenos IT apprenticeship programme.
David Henry, managing director of D&J Henry, admitted the firm previously struggled to hire the right IT staff for engineering roles, but hiring apprentices for IT engineering roles works out more cost-effective than recruiting highly skilled technicians.
"We were finding it impossible to recruit the right people and spent thousands on online recruitment agencies and advertising locally. Despite seeing hundreds of people, we couldn't find the engineering staff of the calibre that we needed," he said.
The first five Zenos apprentices were recruited to support the company's core engineering team. It has also recently recruited a further 11 apprentices who graduated in July. Henry said the company plans to hire another 10 apprentices by the end of the year.
"The apprentices are highly educated in the skills we need, they are focused and enthusiastic, and they are team players, taking great pride in getting high-quality work out to customers," Henry added.
Apprentices receive a starting salary of £14,000 and are given "a lot of training" to build on qualifications gained at the academy.
The company has also recruited graduates for management and senior engineer roles over the past 18 months. A total of 15 people in the company are recent bachelor or masters degree graduates.
Vicky Long began a Zenos apprenticeship after quitting a university psychology degree. She has worked at D&J Henry for six months and is hoping to pursue a career in networking management.
The 25-year-old said: "This is what I have always wanted to do, and I don't regret dropping out of university. You get the engineering skills you need and Zenos gives you lots of support to find a good job. I found work within two months."
Due to its strategy of recruiting apprentices, D&J Henry has been able to grow the business and take on more contracts, according to Henry.
Pearson in Practice is a training provider for apprenticeship programmes. Its Zenos IT apprenticeship programme will provide more than 4,000 apprenticeships to 16-24-year-olds in 2011.
Computer Weekly has launched an information resource called "IT Works" to empower the digital economy through IT skills and training (i.e. help you get a job).
Photo: Hemera Technologies