The only way is up for apprentices

Apprenticeships are a hot topic at the moment and it’s hard to turn on the TV or radio without hearing about how the Government will support employers to recruit apprentices. Holly Wrigley explains the Riverside view. Holly Wrigley leads the new apprentices project We realised that Riverside was in a great position to support people wanting to become an apprentice, so we made a pledge in our corporate plan to ‘maximise opportunities for employment learning by establishing a programme of apprenticeships for tenants, creating 20 placements each year within Riverside and more opportunities through our contractors’.

When I announced to friends and family that I had been successful and would proudly be Riverside’s new Apprenticeship Project Manager, I was met with a few strange looks and comments like, “I didn’t know you had construction knowledge”. The penny dropped, they thought that apprenticeships would be mainly future bricklayers and electricians! I explained that the apprenticeship programme that we have designed will create vacancies nationally in all area of our business, from marketing to finance, Riverside Home Ownership to neighbourhood offices, and everything in-between. And that is exactly what we are doing!

Our objective is clear, we want to provide our customers, entry level talent and young people opportunities to excel through Riverside’s apprenticeship programme.

Supported by engaged colleagues and managers who are empowered to ensure their apprentice achieves the best. The new scheme is now officially up and running, and by working nationally with directors across the business, we have identified real job roles that give apprentices an opportunity to learn valuable skills that will benefit them and support their future progression. They’re also a part of our strategy as active partners of Business In The Community, a national campaign for companies to work together to tackle a wide range of issues that are essential to creating a fairer society and a more sustainable future.

We are offering 12 month apprenticeships with a tailored package of support for both apprentice and recruiting manager. This support includes recruitment coordination, travel support, learning mentors, a national training provider to ensure a high quality standardised service, and succession planning for the apprentice’s future.

Recently we recruited our first two apprentices onto the programme. Both are completing accountancy qualifications and are based in our Group Finance Team. During the interview process they were asked why they had chosen an apprenticeship, and their answers were clear: University isn’t an option anymore. Riverside apprentice Conor Irwin explains: “I know that upon graduation – owing thousands in tuition – the first question in any interview I have will be – what previous experience do you have? I want to earn as I learn.”

Apprenticeships are fast becoming the best option for people who want to achieve a qualification and experience that will assist them to progress in their career, and Riverside gets the benefit of their enthusiasm, motivation and willingness to learn and grow with us.