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Transforming businesses through Apprenticeships - Case Study

Female tutor sat at a desk, helping a male student, with the Marstons logo overlaid on the image.

Paul Fellows is the Apprenticeship Manager at Marston's PLC. We asked for his thoughts on using apprenticeship training programs to upskill and transform business practices.

Why were you initially attracted towards apprenticeships for your business?

Any kind of further knowledge, especially in Finance and Accountancy, is essential for our business. The education our apprentices pick up clearly improves their ability to carry out their jobs. The more knowledge they gain, the better their prospects, and the better we perform as a business.

Ultimately this is what a lot of people want: the power to become masters in their field and progress. Also, by having official recognition and becoming a member of a professional body is a win-win too.

The business will benefit due to the accountancy and financial knowledge that they will acquire, and it keeps the Internal Audit function in a position of strength.

- Jonathan, apprentice line manager

How does the business specifically benefit from apprenticeships?

Better engaged team members.

In hospitality, retention rates are always an issue, as there is often a high transient population. However, our reports state that the apprenticeship programmes are at 75% retention. This massively bucks the trend in the hospitality industry.

Through apprenticeships, the business can now look at retraining options for those who show a willingness to learn and expand their knowledge.

Anna is studying to gain her accountancy qualification so she can gain an accountant position within the team. Her exams are necessary for her to have the relevant qualifications to input into our company accounts.

- Georgina, apprentice line manager

Do you hire directly into these positions or do they come through internally?

We hire people into apprenticeship roles from internal and external sources.

We’re hiring through a kickstarter scheme and support those who couldn't find roles after finishing their degree. It’s important we let people know what is out there and that we educate teachers and schools about apprenticeships as a genuine route into work.

I can see that so many different companies don't consider, or understand, apprenticeships.

What would you say to someone who is considering apprenticeships to train their workforce?

Go for it. The apprenticeship route offers such a great way for people to practice what they learn and put skills, knowledge, and behaviours into practice immediately.

Also, utilise the levy. It's such an important pot of money and unfortunately not many people use it.

Finally, don't be put off. Apprenticeships aren’t just for trades any more. Apprenticeships can help in all fields.

The scheme supports students in a practical way, and helps track studying and structure the timing of the training.

- Jonathan, apprentice line manager

How does one convince senior stakeholders?

Get all the facts. Work with the providers, like Kaplan, to get the real detail. Speak to similar companies to get their take on how apprenticeships work and get information from people already invested in them.

How has it helped with diversity?

It offers more opportunities to more people. We did an impact study and found that there is greater diversity in parts of the country where apprenticeships are prevalent.

They make the job market more accessible and the candidate pool a lot wider. Maybe more disadvantaged people don't get the same opportunities via the university route. I think apprenticeships are great for diversity.

Not only have I watched our apprentices develop personally and professionally as they go through the programme, but they also develop a great connection with the company.

- Georgina, apprentice line manager

We also spoke directly to some of the apprentices who have been on the programmes…

How have you found Kaplan’s support with these schemes?

Helen (Apprentice):

The support is very good when studying the modules. However, it was a tricky start as Marston’s wasn’t an approved training provider with ICAEW initially, so there were some delays with being able to register and book exams.

Although I had a bit of a shaky start, my first meeting with a Talent Coach has now taken place so I can now move forward knowing what the process and expectations are.

Anna (Apprentice):

The support has been excellent from the get go. I have catch up meetings on a regular basis with my talent coach who not only guides me through the apprenticeship process, but checks in to make sure that I’m on track with my studies and exams.

They’ve provided me with links/webinars/reports to look at and I didn’t have these resources before I was put on the apprenticeship. My talent coach is extremely friendly and approachable, making me feel comfortable and equipped going into my final year of studying.

In terms of materials, lectures and communication how is everything going?

Helen (Apprentice):

For my first two units I studied Live Online. I found the lectures intense, but very useful and worked well with the training material.

Kaplan employees have been very knowledgeable and always sign-post areas for additional help and support. I have recently started studying my third module using the OnDemand service.

I’m using a different way to study this module, due to the extensive screen time. The units do tell you to take a break, which is very important with screen strain and to allow information to embed.

Anna (Apprentice):

The materials are great, because you receive a wide variety and they cater for all learning types. For me personally, and for the way I learn, the textbook, the question book, and the online 500+ question bank are the most beneficial. They give me detailed explanations that the lectures don’t have time to cover.

Also, they allow me to practice questions over and over again to obtain a full understanding and better prepare me for the exam.

The communication and quality so far are great and I have not had any problems. Kaplan have been good at sending email updates, exam scores, webinar invitations, and other related information in a timely manner.

If your company would like to explore the potential benefits of onboarding apprenticeships, then please view our range of apprenticeship programmes available.