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Apprentice? You’re hired, now start building your own team!

Apprentices at easyNetworks collaborate on Microsoft Teams

Portsmouth based easyNetworks does not simply hire apprentices for its IT & Telecoms business, it trains and empowers them to become hiring managers in their own right.

As part of National Apprenticeships Week, easyNetworks is recognising the huge potential of apprenticeships to shape the future, by celebrating the achievements of its apprentices as they establish their careers and become the next generation of business leaders.

Luke Perman, Finance Manager

22-year-old Luke Perman is a case in point. Having joined as an Accounts Apprentice through our partnership with Highbury College in Portsmouth less than five years ago, Luke is now Finance Manager at easyNetworks with a Professional Diploma in Accounting and is working towards the Level 7 CIMA Professional Accountant Standard.

As Finance Manager, Luke has recruited and developed his own team of apprentices as they start their own academic and professional journey through the business.

Luke said of his experiences at the company:

“Whereas some apprenticeships only offer a very limited function in a company, at easyNetworks I have been allowed to experience all elements of the business accounting system, which has really boosted my knowledge. I’ve felt my personal development at easyNetworks has always been a priority for the business, and for that I am truly grateful. I now run a small finance team of my own apprentices which I personally love, as I get to see them go through the same experiences I did, and I’m able to offer guidance and support.”

Cameron Silk, Accounts Executive

Encouraged by company founder and Managing Director Richard Gwilliam, Luke’s first hire was Accounts Executive Cameron Silk. Despite this being his first taste of office work, with Luke’s support Cameron immediately fitted into the team and they soon achieved recognition by taking the “In-house Payroll Team of the Year” award at the Iris Customer Awards last year.

Cameron spoke positively about starting his career at easyNetworks as an apprentice:

“I have enjoyed every minute of working at easyNetworks and moving through the apprenticeship scheme.

I felt there was immediate acceptance into the team and that I was able to grow into my role as a valued member of the easyNetworks family, learning more about how a limited company operates than would have been possible going through traditional university methods. This would not have been possible if it were not for the apprenticeship scheme. I believe that everyone who can study an apprenticeship should do so – you’ll experience the highs and the lows of working life, all the while earning while you learn.”

Erin Smith, Accounts Executive

Luke and Cameron then went on to recruit Erin Smith into the Finance Team. Erin currently studies at Highbury College towards the Level 3 Assistant Accountant Apprenticeship alongside her role of Accounts Executive.

Erin has had to launch her career while working and studying from home – she was even interviewed for the role remotely over Microsoft Teams, a collaboration and communications tool used throughout easyNetworks and many of its customers.

Erin commented on the life of a remote working apprentice:
“I chose to do an apprenticeship because I wanted to get real life work experience alongside my college course by working in a proper office environment as early as possible.

I was interviewed for the position initially on Microsoft Teams, it worked well doing it online. It was more convenient than an in-person interview but was still very similar in the content and discussion. From the start of my apprenticeship, I have worked mainly from home. I was at first concerned that this would make it harder for me to learn the different processes and integrate into the office environment. However, by using Microsoft Teams I have been fully trained in different tasks and able to communicate with my co-workers almost as well as if I were in the office.”

Erin summarised her feelings on her apprenticeship to date:

“Working at easyNetworks has been enjoyable and I feel as though I have already learnt a lot in my role as an apprentice and I look forward to completing the rest of my apprenticeship here.”

easyNetworks provides IT and Telecoms services to businesses throughout Hampshire and nationwide. As a growing company, it needs to recruit and train engineers to install and configure networks.

Owen Lashley, Technical Services Engineer

Recent engineering recruit Owen Lashley joined to develop his career as a Technical Services Engineer while studying at Highbury College for a Level 3 Infrastructure Technician Apprenticeship.

Owen described his experience of working for easyNetworks warmly:

“As an apprentice, I am finding my learning experience with easyNetworks exceptional. The technical team are open, respectful and can teach very well. I feel trusted with growing responsibilities – it’s all about putting customers first at easyNetworks and I’m finding opportunities to put that into practice.  My colleagues are always there to provide me support, I am taught something new every day and the team help to ensure that I feel confident with what I have learned.”

As well as being a great route for young people to learn a trade, easyNetworks MD Richard Gwilliam also supports apprenticeships as an excellent recruitment channel for high-calibre staff. Reflecting on the company’s commitment to apprenticeships, Richard said:

“We have several current and former apprentices on the team at easyNetworks and I firmly believe in the benefits of apprenticeships for young people and the company. We get to recruit a motivated and engaged member of staff and the chance to instil our technical expertise, values and company culture into them. In return they get all the training, guidance and supervision they need to kick-start their career in their chosen field with a supportive and professional local employer, plus a valuable qualification. It’s a win-win situation and our apprentices bring great energy to the company.

I’m particularly delighted to see Luke, recently an apprentice himself, is now recruiting, managing and supporting a new generation of apprentices who are already making a difference to the business. There are many talented young people in Portsmouth who just need an opportunity to show what they can do, so I commend this career path to local employers and students alike.”

Penny Wycherley, Interim Principal and CEO of Highbury College, said:

“I’m delighted that our partnership with easyNetworks is providing the skills and knowledge our apprentices need to build a bright and promising future. It’s especially pleasing to hear of the success of one of our apprentices who is now recruiting and supporting his own team of apprentices – well done Luke! Apprenticeships are a great way to learn and benefit not just the learner, but also local business and communities as well.”

We’ll leave the last word to Owen, who said of his role:

“I am really enjoying my apprenticeship so far with easyNetworks and am always exited to go to work and learn. I would also fully recommend easyNetworks for anyone who is interested in an apprenticeship.”

Luke Perman (centre L) and Cameron Silk (centre R) of the easyNetworks Finance Team collecting the award for “In-house Payroll Team of the Year” award at the Iris Customer Awards 2020

 

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