Invotra doubled the size of its North East operations in 2017 and took on three new apprentices to work on quality assurance, testing, project management and cyber security. Invotra provides intranet and portal to organisations worldwide to improve digital communications, engagement and collaboration. Its major customers include the DWP, based in the North East and other major central government departments and local authorities.
Here, Alison Galvin, the company’s HR director, gives her view on Apprenticeship Levy and the value of apprenticeships…
For an SME like Invotra, which is not a levy-paying employer yet, we benefit from the additional investment the Levy ploughs back in to the Apprenticeship scheme, which we are huge advocates of. Ultimately we care about having more and better apprenticeship opportunities for all.
There are opportunities for all size companies to invest in apprenticeships from school leavers to investing in training and upskilling for more mature apprentices.
We will continue to support and invest in our apprenticeship programme and benefit from the continued focus and investment in the government apprenticeship scheme.
Apprenticeships are even more important today. While apprenticeships were often skills-based, there are now many more opportunities for example project management, software development, cyber security and chartered management. This creates a level playing field for students, both financially and personally, and the opportunity for people to access a degree and masters qualifications.
Apprentices benefit from work experience and on the job knowledge as well as having as income and being debt free. This is not just about having an alternative route to getting qualifications, it’s about having a preferred, better way to learn and work for some people.
We need to fundamentally challenge the way we think about education and success in the UK. There needs to be more awareness amongst parents, schools and colleges and consideration given to how we measure success. For example, for higher education establishments, it’s not just about getting students into university, those with apprenticeship placements should also have equal merit.
There are also some sector differences. For a company like Invotra, a fast-growing technology SME, apprenticeships are invaluable. We find as soon as a technology curriculum is set, it soon becomes out of date – learning on the job, working alongside industry experts gives our technology apprentices the latest information.
In addition apprentices learn valuable business and life skills including appropriate office behaviours, professionalism, time keeping and meeting etiquette.