Russ McGrath is the owner of Tandem Marketing, a microbusiness specializing in telemarketing. Alongside running the company, Russ has also recently become chair of the Bradford Apprenticeship Development Group, to help raise the awareness of the benefits of apprenticeships in schools, businesses and to young people.
Initially, as Tandem Marketing only employed 4 to 5 staff, Russ was unsure of the benefits an apprentice could have to such a small business. It was hard to see where the company was going to find the time to train the individual. Moreover, it was a worry that the apprentice wasn’t going to get what they needed out of the work experience – they didn’t want to let the young person down.
However, after taking a chance, hiring an apprentice at Tandem Marketing has completely transformed Russ’s view. The apprentice had the opportunity to gain vital foundational business skills which many companies are looking for when interviewing potential employees. As such, the benefit of the apprentice was apparent to the whole of the company, with each staff member having a little more free time to develop their own roles further. Now Russ aims to educate others about his experience of taking on an apprentice through his present role as the chair of the Bradford Apprenticeship Development Group. Here Russ talks about his role:
“I am happy to get involved in something that is worthwhile. I struggle to be a passenger when I feel that with a bit of time and effort I can help to make a difference. Lots of smaller companies don’t see the benefit of having an apprentice, so I thought it would be good to lead on this as I have a firsthand perspective.”
Three goals have been developed at the Bradford Apprenticeship Development Group. First of all there is a need to educate businesses about the benefits of an apprentice. Secondly, it is important that young people see an apprenticeship as an extremely valuable experience and finally, it also important to educate parents about the benefits and the good outcomes which arise from apprenticeships, as parents also have influence over the path their child takes. Overall the main goal is to tackle the generational view of apprenticeships as a fall-back and to explain that they are a viable route to a good education and a good career.
Since Russ has taken up this role, a couple of initiatives are already well advanced. First on the agenda are the apprenticeship awards which are taking place on the 4th of March at the University Great Hall where 50 apprentices will celebrate their success with their employers, families and friends.
The 150 in 100 campaign is another initiative well on its way. The aim of this is to enroll 150 apprentices into businesses in 100 days. This is built upon the success of 2012’s 100 in 100 campaign and demonstrates that Bradford is aiming higher and moving forward. This initiative is aimed at businesses to give them an overview of how to take on an apprentice. The overall objective of this is to demonstrate the benefits of apprentices to businesses and to encourage them to open their doors.
Tandem Marketing supports the local economy by employing locally – and having experienced how their first apprentice has been such an asset, they are now looking to take on more.
As owner Russ McGrath says, “the voice of the private sector is crucial to how apprenticeships operate in our local area so more young people can benefit from earning while they learn and forge long lasting careers.