‘Look Beyond’ for National Apprentice Week 2020

5/2/20 : Mick Jobling, TClarke HR Director commends this year’s theme for National Apprentice Week and explores its meaning at TClarke.

This year, National Apprentice Week asks employers and young people to ‘look beyond’ traditional routes for hiring staff and “shout about the value they already see from diversifying their workforce by employing apprentices” as the Department for Education says. I think the phrase is full of meaning for our business.

TClarke is an exemplar for effective apprenticeship

I am very proud, as TClarke’s first HR Director, to say that throughout our 130 years of history, TClarke has always invested very heavily in apprenticeships as the starting point for long career paths within our business. 

What we know in this business, is that the creation of an effective apprenticeship scheme is about a lot more than simply offering apprenticeship places. It is about more than providing high quality training and learning packages too; we know that you also have to create a complete culture of support. That is not something that can be parachuted onto an organisaton – it takes time and it depends on the people of the business.

TClarke’s staff are the key ingredient of our apprenticeship experience

What we have at TClarke is a culture where so many of our senior people at every level are themselves ex-TClarke apprentices. This is as true in London as it is in Falkirk, Manchester, Peterborough or Newcastle. The result is that our people empathise with apprentices and go out of their way to support them. This is a really potent form of ‘looking beyond’.

Our long tradition is what allows us to be agile now 

The TClarke apprenticeship scheme targets excellence. We aim to have the highest possible success and completion rates and we do. Start a TClarke apprenticeship and your chance of that progressing successfully to a career with us is in the high 90s percentage wise.  We aim to attract a high quality of entrant and to provide them with the strongest learning and practical education package. And because we have been doing this very steadily over the years, including times when others had lost interest in apprenticeships, we are capable of swift action as an organisation now to move things forward and change them when we need to.

What happens after an apprenticeship?

For me, the most interesting question posed by this year’s theme ‘Look Beyond’ is to ask ‘what happens once the apprenticeship is over? At TClarke we have been looking at finding effective answers to this question. Our recent introduction of the TClarke Training Academy aims to develop the full range of career path options for our people. Our Future Leaders scheme, now training its second cohort, provides a direct ‘next step’ for people to build their careers onward to leadership at every level within our organisation. And today at TClarke we have so many people going on from apprenticeships to undertake degrees and other forms of education and professional qualification with our full support. 

At TClarke apprentices ‘look beyond’ with confidence.

At TClarke, you can ‘look beyond’ your apprenticeship and see a career that lasts for decades. You can see awards and recognition. You can see a diverse set of ways to extend yourself. You can see strong and effective training and leadership courses. You can see senior roles opening up and you can see routes ahead for your career which can take you in all kinds of directions – including right to the top of the organisation.