Apprenticeships and the Workplace: An interview with Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce

Apprenticeships and the Workplace: An interview with Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce

23 November 2022

An apprenticeship operates as a dependable bridge between education and employment. It combines education and training, in an industry that appeals to you. Allowing you to gain first-hand, real-world experience with an employer suited to you and the needs of your future career.

As an apprentice, you are in-training to become fully qualified within your profession. You are also a paid and valued employee who has a contract of employment and employer rights, such as paid annual leave. This means that your employer will provide you with the experience, skills and knowledge needed to adapt and grow into your profession.

Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce is one of the biggest advocates for apprenticeships in South Yorkshire. The organisation represents around 1100 businesses and provides support and guidance for organisations in the region. Employing apprentices themselves, one of the key messages that the Chamber looks to convey to businesses, is to invest in apprenticeships.

Wanting to find out more, we caught up with Andrew Deniff, Chief Executive of the Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce.

Why do employers value apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships work as the perfect link between the education system and employers. Businesses work together with apprenticeship providers, such as RNN Group, to ensure that the apprentices learn the knowledge, skills and behaviours they will use on a daily basis whilst working in their chosen industry.

As an apprenticeship employer ourselves, we value being able to mould an apprentice to fit the needs of our business. We are given the opportunity to work with our apprentices day in and day out, and after their training we have an employee who is accustomed to our way of working and can hit the ground running.

How do you train your apprentices?

Like with any job, the training that an apprentice receives depends on their position within the organisation, or in this case, what apprenticeship they are doing. There are however certain factors that we look to train all of our apprentices in.

Our aim is to give our apprentices a well rounded basis of training, where they are trained in all aspects of the organisation that they come into contact with. We currently have one apprentice working with us, Elle Smith, who is doing her Level 3 in Business Administration Apprenticeship. In support of her education, we ensure that she receives on-the-job training in all areas of business administration, from working with our marketing and finance departments to assisting in the planning and coordination of events with external businesses.

The aim of our apprenticeship training is to ensure that apprentices like Elle can enhance her own career path, but also help our business work towards a better future.

How does an apprenticeship prepare someone for their future career?

An apprenticeship offers you the chance to gain experience. For us as an employer, an apprentice stands out because it shows us that they are willing to both work and learn.

From an employer’s perspective, we can’t always predict what skill sets are going to be in demand in the future, but we do know what values our organisation has. So if we can bring in an apprentice who shows us that they are eager to learn, has social skills and who is adaptable, then we can train them to fit the skill sets that they will need in the industry.

An apprenticeship offers you the tools to adapt to the needs of your industry, which will be crucial throughout the apprentices’ career.

How have apprenticeships added value to your organisation?

Apprenticeships have enabled us to develop the future of our business. Three members of our team are current or former apprentices and the work that they do everyday is crucial to our success.

By working with apprentices, we ensure that we meet the challenges of tomorrow without sacrificing the needs of today.

To find out more about apprenticeships