Wise Productions technical apprentices

 22 October 2012

Wise Productions needed extra staff, so they started thinking about apprenticeships.

Wise Productions had had two apprentices before, but that had been about ten years ago. When they realised they needed extra staff in the warehouse, apprenticeships weren't the first thing that came to mind.

"We soon realised we wanted to mould someone new to fit the work we had"

"We did try to advertise a full position at first," says David Blair, from Wise.

"But we soon realised that it would be easier to mould someone new to fit into the work than to try to recruit someone into the role directly."

Working with Creative & Cultural Skills

"We approached the Skills Academy's apprenticeship team and they quickly put us in contact with the right college for the course: a technical theatre course.

"The college was really helpful and the process was both fast and straightforward.

"We advertised through the Skills Academy and they were able to whittle 70 applicants down to five after an initial interview process.

"Then there was nothing left to do except for us to interview the final candidates and make our choice. The whole process took about six weeks."

Making the apprenticeship work

"The commitment to an apprentice is high, but it's a good deal: you train a young person at a small cost to the company and after 12 months they're automatically integrated into our working patterns and ready for employment.

"Apprenticeships make complete sense to us, and they're also a way of giving back"

"We call it the ‘Wise Way’.

"At Wise Productions the apprentice works closely with the team and we also hold monthly reviews and set our own targets.

"If the apprentice is reaching all the targets they receive a pay rise as an incentive. The Apprentice National Minimum wage is low so there's lots of room for pay increases.

"We feel that we’ve found an employee who is really part of the family. He's already a valuable member of staff."

An apprenticeship training cycle

"Apprenticeships are a two-way street. The apprentice gets training and experience which is highly valued in the industry, and a qualification. 

"We get someone we can nurture and hopefully keep on afterwards, so they become an experienced member of the team. We can then use them on site.

"From the beginning, our director envisioned our first apprentice completing his training and then working to assist the next apprentice, like a cycle.

"Apprenticeships are a great way to develop your workforce"

"Working in this way gives the first apprentice the confidence to pass their knowledge and experiences on. And, of course, as the company grows so will the staff, so this is a great way to develop your work force."

Views on apprenticeships

"I'd really recommend taking on an apprentice.

"It makes complete sense for us. As our company grows more staff will be needed so, as a long term plan, apprentices will be brought in and moulded to follow the ‘Wise Way’ of quality that runs through the company.

"This also allows us to give something back, which is very important to us."

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