Meet June’s Apprentice of the Month
To present this month’s Apprentice of the Month award, we travelled to Semma4, an army supplies shop in Maidstone to meet June’s winner James and his manager Mark. James has been an Apprentice at Semma4 since August and is working towards an NVQ Level 2 qualification in Business Administration.
A pleasant surprise
In a unique twist to our usual award presentation, we had the pleasure of surprising James with his award as his colleagues had made sure to not tell him that he had been chosen as this month’s lucky winner until the day arrived. As all of his colleagues gathered round to see him presented with his trophy, certificate and £20 cinema voucher, the surprise and joy on his face was clear.
We always like to hear about the different paths our winners took to find their Apprenticeship. For James, he was eager to find an Apprenticeship as he was aware of the learning opportunities that it brings, more so than a full-time job. He was originally interested in finding a mechanics Apprenticeship, but his keen interest in the military attracted him to the role he saw advertised at Semma4. James had helped out there as part of a course a year earlier so was already familiar with the organisation and staff.
The military aspect of the job attracted James to the Apprenticeship, and he said he has learnt so much about working with customers, and about the products he sells. When asked what his plans are for the future, James said ideally he will stay on at Semma4 when his Apprenticeship finishes in August and continue to build his skills and gain new knowledge. We also asked him what he would say to anyone thinking of undertaking an Apprenticeship and he would recommend them to anyone. “My friend was recently thinking about applying for an Apprenticeship and I told him to go for it.”
A positive influence
When James started his Apprenticeship with Semma4, the shop had only been open for a short time and was really a blank canvas in terms of both design and operations. This was an ideal opportunity for an enthusiastic apprentice to bring in fresh ideas to help kick-start the new business. According to Mark, James has certainly stepped up and done this. “Thanks to James’ ambition and initiative, we are now selling products that we never had before, using new suppliers that James identified himself, and he has generally taken the pressure off the team.” As well as changes he’s made to the business, Mark also noted the positive changes that he’s noticed from James. “James is now much more confident with the team and when dealing with customers, and his product knowledge is immense.”
We then spoke to Mark about the process of hiring an Apprentice and his expectations beforehand. Semma4 had previously taken on an Apprentice through KT&A, so knew that the Apprenticeship scheme can prove to be successful providing the right candidate is matched to the business. This is exactly what happened for Mark during the recruitment process, he said the KT&A staff worked very hard to find the right person and have certainly done so with James. Due to the success of both the previous Apprentice and now James, Semma4 are in the process of employing a second Apprentice who will soon be joining James, which is fantastic to hear. Although he has experienced hiring an Apprentice, Mark wasn’t expecting James to have become as crucial to the team as he has. “We weren’t expecting James to make such an impact. He has worked really hard, brought new ideas in and fits in perfectly with the team.”
Congratulations to James and Semma4 for being chosen as June’s Apprentice of the Month. If you want your Apprentice to be recognised for their hard work next month, make sure you nominate them today!