I spend a fair amount of my time helping SME companies develop growth strategies. These strategies require me to review their markets and competition, products and services, systems, skills and of course their staff roles and capabilities to position the business for their short and long-term goals. Yet in SME’s (particularly of a certain size), it can be all too easy to lose sight of one’s own staff when your customers and competitors, products and services can take up so much of a management team’s time, so we help by ‘joining-up-the-dots’.
A large percentage of SME’s recruit staff, either by word-of-mouth, recruitment agency, advertisement, networking or promotion through the ranks and a few take this further and bring in apprentices, especially now that there is a strong and growing trend of students opting not to complete their University applications. But the clients we work with are going even further than that!
For some years now I’ve lent my support to a number of local schools and colleges in the Midlands, initially attending ‘Entrepreneur Days’, ‘Practice Interviews’ and career events, and over the past three years or so I’ve extended this role to include specific support of Career Ready, a charity which helps link schools and business.
I was invited to join the local schools and colleges leadership team, known as a LAB (Local Advisory Board). It’s our role to facilitate the regional links with business and provide coaching and mentoring for the students. It’s not been without its challenges, but it has been incredibly rewarding to see a student’s personal development in terms of their maturity at the end of their two-year programme.
As part of the programme our students go out on internships with employers and its here where our clients come in. We identify students to place with them on a 4-6 week summer internship. As a direct result of this process our clients now get the chance to ‘interview’ students over the summer and choosing who they would wish to offer a role to should the students join the firm as apprentices after completion of their A-level studies. This process significantly reduces the risk and expense of the ‘normal’ recruitment process and as such is one that SME businesses can adopt with little pain.
It’s also very fulfilling and inspiring to learn how the programme has helped the students feel more confident and able to face the world of work and to hear from them and their employers how they seamlessly adapt to life as an ‘employee’. Employers using this process can now identify that as well as taking on very willing and able employees they have a) significantly reduced the financial cost of recruitment b) selected without risk those who ‘fit’ the ‘style’ of the company and c) achieved all this with a young person who at 18 years of age is potentially 2 – 5 years sooner than they would have without any commitment to the scheme.
If you want to discuss this process or the specifics of what we can do to help you, please do get in touch by calling 01788-815327.