#NAW2021 Interview: Tom de Vall, Co-Founder & Executive Chair
Tell us about iungo’s philosophy on apprenticeships.
iungo originated from a conversation between myself and Jessica on Apprenticeships. The belief that an effective apprenticeship system can be the foundation for shaping future generations remains at the heart of our company.
We evolved iungo with a clarity and strength in the principles and values that would define us. Our policies reflect our working practices and the ethics that underpin our approach to business, which we believe are not only conducive to building a successful business, but practices that will in time be adopted by many others.
iungo’s overarching principle is our approach to life-long learning. Our pledge to everyone at iungo that they will experience a culture that provides scope and support for personal and professional development. Reinforced by key notions such as our Employee Value Proposition for continual growth with the company and the mandate that everyone at iungo becomes an apprentice.
As a digitally native company, we are well positioned in the current evolution of flexible and remote working structures. This movement supports our existing policies and our ethos of hiring people based on our framework of attitude, aptitude and ambition, which ensures we employ based on potential and not experience.
What are the benefits of Apprenticeships to start-ups and SMEs?
To understand the true benefits of an apprenticeship today, you must be able to envisage where you want to take your business and how it should look in the future. This is because the value that an apprentice can bring in the short term can only be appreciated if you understand your company and therefore the value generated from their longer term contribution.
Firstly, you are investing in an individual with the drive to work and learn in parallel. This combination will not only introduce new skills to enhance your organisation capabilities but provide current and fresh ideas, which will challenge the way you work and support a company to continue to evolve.
Secondly, with provision of the appropriate environment, you are gaining an employee who will grow with the company. This personal investment and commitment will therefore support a strategic skills based approach for long term succession and resource planning.
How can we increase the uptake of Apprenticeships amongst small businesses?
Organisations that are just looking to fill a role or a skills gap because they have one will overlook the short term benefits of apprenticeships and fail to identify the real value add that they bring. Also, as well as not understanding the benefits to an investment in an apprentice, many small businesses operate on a month to month basis and do not see how they can afford this type of investment. Therefore it is crucial that support and incentives for both parties are provided, to enable companies to mitigate the perceived risk.
We also have to remove the stigma associated with an apprenticeship, to ensure we increase the number of high quality candidates who choose the apprenticeship route. Our work in this area has shown that apprenticeships often provide the fastest and most cost-effective route to full occupational competency in a particular career. This is only possible because of the fully immersive experience that an Apprentice undertakes; developing their knowledge, skills, workplace behaviours, and understanding of workplace culture and organisational processes in parallel. Apprenticeships provide an opportunity for small businesses to grow their own talent, without needing to reshape existing talent to integrate with their culture and values.
You can find out more about Apprenticeship Progression Pathways that exist across England and Wales in our new careers App, OPUS by iungo. Compare Apprenticeships with other career routes to find one that works for you or your business.
What would you say to a small business considering Apprenticeships?
Apprentices provide an opportunity for companies to employ people with the attitude and ability to add instant value, whilst offering the potential of growing this value exponentially over a sustained period. In the current climate, business models must change, companies must build resilience and plan with a progressive approach for longer term growth. Apprenticeships offer the most efficient and effective way to achieve this and due to the agile nature of start-ups and SME’s, they are in the most advantageous position to place apprenticeships behind these strategic initiatives.