We were considering looking for an apprentice in the telecoms sector when ITP contacted us about their apprentice scheme. After an initial meeting to discuss the procedure we decided to go head and move onto the assessment day. This was held at our office a few weeks later with 8 candidates attending that had been pre-selected on our behalf. The day itself was extremely easy for us as it was all organised and hosted by Joe and Charlotte from ITP. All we had to do was provide the meeting room and attend. The days itself was very enjoyable and thorough with different elements including role play, individual interviews, group discussions etc. which really helped us make an informed decision. We then had 2nd interviews for 3 candidates a about week later and decided on our apprentice. Mark joined us in February and is already part of the team and learning new skills whilst on the job, that will benefit him and the company for the future.
A big thank you to Joe and Charlotte as they were a pleasure to deal with and I was very impressed with the way they handled the whole process for us from start to finish. I would not hesitate to recommend to any other IT or Telecoms company to use one of the ITP apprenticeship schemes
As governments make significant interventions in response to the coronavirus, businesses are rapidly adjusting to the changing needs of their people, their customers and suppliers, while navigating the financial and operational challenges.
Babble are technology partners to businesses in the UK and because of the pandemic, have been busier than ever helping their customers become more digital, data-driven, and in the cloud; to have more variable cost structures, agile operations and automation; while being secure.
The extra demand and growth means they needed to continue their recruitment strategy of employing apprentices to gain experience in a fast growing market.
The ITP apprenticeship scheme recruits, trains and mentors apprentices on behalf of employers. But what happens when a business wants to hire an apprentice during the current COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown when traditionally the process involves a number of face-to-face meetings and interviews? The ITP recently helped Babble find and recruit a Support Apprentice during these unprecedented times with a virtual recruitment process.
We interviewed them to explain how it worked.
How did you find the virtual recruitment process?
Really easy, we used Microsoft Teams, a collaboration and communication hub, which sent out the calendar invites and allowed us to have video calls with candidates. We found the recruitment process was quicker because it allowed us to involve people from all around the UK without the need to search for day’s we could all travel and meet face-to-face. The ITP assisted in the process by screening and vetting potential candidates, which took away a lot of the legwork.
What did it involve?
Review of CVs, virtual meetings, follow up review of candidates via a virtual meeting and then the final job offer. The same process as usual, just virtual.
How have you found onboarding and managing a new employee remotely?
It has made things easier as we are more adaptable and using the technology means we are able to check in more regularly from wherever we are.
What measures have you put in place to integrate Chloe to the team?
We’ve structured our induction process to be completed by virtual meetings and had all the kit Chloe needed shipped ready for her to start. The induction process involves meeting key people across our business, finding out who they are, what they do and how they fit into the business. We have also set up remote training sessions with peers and are using online training platforms and our knowledge base.
Would you hire virtually in future?
Yes, without a doubt. This will become the new normal.
What would you say to other businesses unsure of taking on an apprentice during this uncertain time?
We were conscious that onboarding Chloe would be different to the usual face to face and wanted to make sure this would go just as well, if not better. We made sure she would have the resources and support, so she didn’t feel isolated or out of the loop. I would recommend this process and the ITP is there to support and advise every step of the way.
Why did you apply for the role?
I was interested in doing an apprenticeship and I found the application on Indeed. I decided to fill it out as it really interested me. I didn’t have much of an idea about technology support; but I knew it was an apprenticeship which is about learning the job as you do it.
Even though I hadn’t done anything like it in the past, or in my studies, I started to research it and it found it sparked my interest. By the time the interview came, I was prepared for any questions that came my way.
Charlotte and Lauren at the ITP helped to prepare me for the meeting, and what would be expected.
How did you find the virtual recruitment process?
It was a lot more nerve racking than a usual recruitment process, and very different to anything I have done in the past. Although telephone interviews are usual for me, this was my first virtual call.
While I found it scary, this was just nerves. I could also say maybe it was less nerve racking than walking into an office which may have been filled with 50+ people. Plus, you are in the comfort of your own home so maybe that helps.
How have you found the job so far and what has it been like starting a job during lockdown?
I have found the job very interesting so far, the team have been brilliant, really helpful and very supportive throughout it all.
Starting during lockdown has been a challenge. There’s no doubt that having daily meetings with people seeing them face to face knowing you haven’t met them in person could be awkward to start with. It’s definitely a learning curve, as from day one you are working with a team you have never met!
How do you stay in touch with the team?
We use Microsoft Teams, so the support team have a group chat which is for daily updates. I speak to my team individually when I need potential help from certain people regarding different inquiries from customer.
What would you say to others considering an apprenticeship?
I would say it’s a very good choice to make, it gives you a qualification and you can work your way up to higher education with it. I have always wanted to try an apprenticeship and I can certainly say I have not regretted going down this route one bit.
Businesses are rapidly evolving to meet the needs of their customers and suppliers during these challenging times, looking to technology to facilitate this. Telecoms organisation Vorboss is no exception.
Vorboss has previously recruited three Telecoms Apprentices through the ITP’s assessment days. During lockdown, the company was looking to recruit an IT Support Apprentice studying a Level 3 Infrastructure Technician Apprenticeship. This time, the ITP worked closely with the Vorboss team to recruit an apprentice virtually, taking its traditional assessment process online.
The ITP apprenticeship scheme recruits, trains and mentors apprentices on behalf of employers and has created over 100 roles in the industry since its inception in 2013.
ITP Apprenticeship Scheme Manager, Charlotte Goodwill, explained how the process worked, “Traditionally, our scheme helps partners to find the right apprentice match for their business through an assessment day which we facilitate and host at the company’s premises. We find these are a great way to meet potential apprentices, see them in action and get real insights into their expectations.”
As video calls and meetings become the norm for many of us now, we worked closely with Vorboss to recreate our traditional event in a virtual setting. We felt it was important to continue to gather apprentices together to collaborate and spark ideas, as it’s the best way to spot real potential.
We organised the entire recruitment process; from the initial job postings through to telephone interviews and hosting the assessment day.
Six candidates attended the event which was run using the Vorboss IT system. Vorboss were given a useful background to each candidate through the results of an engineering test and psychometric questionnaire they had completed beforehand. Candidates were also asked to put together a presentation prior to the day.
The event started with introductions to the scheme and role, then candidates were separated into different virtual ‘rooms’ for group activities. They reconvened to present their ideas to the rest of the group. Following this, candidates were invited back for individual presentations and interviews with Vorboss and the ITP team.
Lauren Dutnall of Vorboss said: “Hosting the assessment day virtually worked incredibly well, we were able to pop into individual rooms to chat to candidates during their group exercises which gave us a good insight into how they worked and problem solved. It was also useful to understand how they work as part of a team and interact with others.
The process ran smoothly from start to finish, and we found the ITP really helpful for taking away with the administrative burden normally associated with recruitment and setting up an apprenticeship scheme.”
As a result of the day, three candidates were invited back for a one to one interview with the Vorboss team and their CEO. Despite only initially recruiting for one apprentice, due to the standard of the candidates, the company recruited two and are now working with the ITP to recruit more!
As plans are already in place for bringing employees back to the workplace, the new recruits will be able to start with social distancing guidelines firmly established and will be familiar with Vorboss tech and IT systems.