National Apprenticeship Week 2019
It’s National Apprenticeship Week and time for the country to come together to celebrate our apprentices and the employers who provide this significant opportunity.
The HBP Group (HBP Systems and Kamarin Computers) is a passionate advocate for apprenticeship schemes and this week we are taking the opportunity to share with you some of our apprentices’ stories.
We’ll be adding stories across the week, so be sure to follow us.
Connor’s Story – Junior IT Implementation Consultant
Our most recent apprentice, Connor, has not just successfully passed his 18-month apprenticeship with HBP, but he has also been promoted to Junior IT Implementation Consultant. Aspiring for a career in IT, Connor specifically pursued an apprenticeship as he knew university would be too general for him and he would come out lacking a speciality. Connor discovered the apprenticeship opportunity at HBP Systems when he attended an interview for another job. Unfortunately, Connor was told upon arrival that position had already been filled. In a twist of fate, the company, who was a recruitment agency, added Connor to their books and soon organised his interview at HBP.
“I was so determined to get an apprenticeship with a reputable company like HBP, I quit my part-time job the night before the interview … and luckily I got it. Initially, when I began at HBP as an apprentice, I was required to attend college two days a week. HBP was amazing at facilitating this, as well as supporting me throughout my revision, which was extremely intense at first. The examinations that I was required to take were very expensive, and as well as supporting my learning, HBP paid for them as well. I was the youngest in the company when I started, but I settled in quickly and was mentored really well. Now that I have completed my apprenticeship, I choose to do even more shadowing and I am confident in taking any opportunity to learn new things”.
Ryan’s Story – IT Support Team Leader
Now a senior member of the IT Support Team, Ryan began at HBP Systems as an apprentice when he was 18. Just like Connor, Ryan attended an interview for a position that had already been filled, but luckily, they recommended HBP Systems to Ryan. As one of the youngest members of the Management Team, Ryan’s career has thrived since starting an apprenticeship here eight years ago.
“I knew that classroom-based learning did not appeal to me and that I was going to learn best by actually carrying out the work. The technical training that HBP Systems was offering through their apprenticeship scheme was the best in Lincolnshire at the time. This company gave me my first real opportunity in the IT industry, and they have supported me ever since”.
Jake’s Story – Software Support Engineer
At 22, Jake became an apprentice at Kamarin Computers as a Software Support Analyst. He aspired to gain qualifications and learn about networking while holding down a job at the same time. With the first level of his apprenticeship successfully completed, Jake is now a software support specialist for Kamarin’s own in-house developed products.
“I settled in very quickly and by the end of the first week I was helping out on the support desk. By doing an apprenticeship, my team mentors were able to help me learn on the job and support me while I did my coursework. I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who is looking to gain on-the-job learning as you then have the qualifications to back it up. Kamarin and HBP were always willing to help where they can with my apprenticeship by making sure that I understood everything and was getting the full experience out of it”.
Sophie’s Story – Office Administrator
Sophie is our leading administrator and assists every department at HBP. Unsure about what career she wanted to pursue, Sophie thought that administration would be a good area to develop in, as it would provide her with lots of transferable skills.
Sophie (centre) celebrating over four years at HBP at our annual Staff Appreciation Party last November.
“Working full-time while studying was challenging, but HBP supported me really well. I had never worked in an environment like it, but instantly I knew it was for me. I was treated like an adult, despite being 17, and always with the respect of an official member of staff. I spent time working with the Finance and Operations departments, which massively broadened my knowledge of the business. What really impressed me, was that management listened to me and ensured I was given the training in what I what I wanted to develop in. Before joining HBP, I had no experience or real interest in IT or software. Now, I find it so interesting. I 100% recommend an apprenticeship and I am so glad I went down the route that I did with HBP”.
Farrah’s Story – Sales Assistant
Farrah joined Kamarin at 17, wanting an apprenticeship that would develop her admin skills and business knowledge. Prior to joining Kamarin Computers, Farrah had no experience with IT, software or business sales. Farrah now supports the entire sales team with customer enquiries and projects. She is also a member of the Social and Charity Committee, so event planning and organising fundraising campaigns is a huge part of Farrah’s job.
“I feel that apprenticeships are the best option after finishing school. It gives young people a chance to figure out what they want to do by gaining experience in different roles while earning a wage. At Kamarin, the senior management is involved in the experience and want to know how you are progressing, which is made so much easier by the brilliant opportunities that they offer”.
Sam’s Story – IT Helpdesk Engineer
Sam is the youngest apprentice that HBP Systems has ever had with him joining the company at just 15, two weeks after his final GCSE exam. Last year, Sam celebrated his 5th anniversary at HBP Systems working as an IT support specialist. Sadly, this week is Sam’s last at HBP Systems, as he is moving on to explore new career and development opportunities. The company will sorely miss him, but we thank him for all his hard work over the last five years and wish him all the best for his bright future.
“The support and guidance from my colleagues have taught me more about work and life than anyone I know who went to university. I wanted to work in IT because it was what I was best at and the most interested in, also with it being an ever-changing industry I thought it would also provide opportunities. HBP supported my training by paying for my trains to Leeds every time I needed to be up there, as well as allowing me to manage my coursework within work time to the best of their abilities. The training centres that they used for me were premium, and with their willingness to always listen, I experienced minimal stress throughout my entire apprenticeship”.
Joanne’s Story – Managing Director
As our final day of National Apprenticeship Week 2019 coincides with International Women’s Day 2019, we are going to hear from HBP Systems’ Managing Director, Joanne Dixon. As one of HBP’s first-ever apprentices, over the last 27-years, Joanne has done fantastic work to support both apprenticeship schemes and women in STEM.
Joanne’s mother, Sue Dixon, founded HBP Systems in 1991 with her business partner, David Smith, and a year later Joanne, at age-16, started as an Apprentice Receptionist. Jo loved her first year with the business, and as she had learnt so much in such a short amount of time, she was not swayed to attend university like most of her friends. With the strongest desire to learn about how a business operates, Joanne was put through her paces throughout every department at HBP Systems for the following 15-years. In 2007, the former apprentice became the Managing Director of HBP Systems, and she is dedicated to providing young talent with the same opportunity that she had.
“I really enjoyed my time as an apprentice and working my way up taught me the core fundamentals of how a business runs, which is invaluable for an MD. HBP was in its infancy when I started, and it grew so much during my first year. I became so heavily invested in the company within such a short amount of time and I knew I wanted to stay post-apprenticeship. I was 16-years-old when turned the MD then, David Smith, and told him “I want to be you”. As an MD who has been in the shoes of nearly everyone at the company, I have genuine empathy and appreciation for my staff. Being a business that offers apprenticeship opportunities provides the business with youthful perspectives, which is exactly how we continue to grow as a technology company”.
Joanne (right) pictured with her mother, Sue (left), and David Smith (centre) celebrating 27-years of business success at 2018’s Staff Appreciation Party.
“I don’t think enough companies appreciate what they can learn from younger talent. It is vital for businesses in the Humber region that specialise in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) to provide apprenticeship opportunities, as most university courses in these subjects are too general. We tailor our schemes around what our apprentices want to learn and how the technology industry changes. Companies that abuse apprenticeship schemes and turn them into cheap labour disgust me, apprenticeships are about growth. The fact that the HBP Group has so many former apprentices still working at the company demonstrates that we have a proven strategy with employee development, which surpasses the apprenticeship stage. From those who join us at entry level to the management team, job progression is at the heart of HBP’s culture. Our latest company strategy includes a huge focus on apprenticeships, which is immensely exciting for us as a business and our community”.
Thank you for reading our apprentices’ stories.
Currently, we are strategising apprenticeship schemes for the near future, but you can see all of our current vacancies here.