Alison Hill, Director at Burnands Brazier Malcolm Wilson Solicitors (BBMW), returns from another successful client meeting and makes a beeline for her apprentice - Abbie Kimber, 19. “They all think you are wonderful – what would we do without you?”. Having been recruited from a number of applicants in 2014, Abbie became one of BBMW’s first office apprentices, providing office and client support to the 38 strong firm and its 4 Directors.
Alison comments: “As the leading general practice in the Worthing area, with a strong business ethos and links to the community, it was important to us to recruit a local candidate and invest in nurturing young talent. So, when we were approached by Northbrook College about their apprenticeship scheme we were keen to learn more and get involved. And, we certainly haven’t been disappointed - not a week goes by without a client saying how friendly and helpful Abbie is.”
Abbie Kimber works as the company’s receptionist and successfully studied for her Level 2 Business & Administration framework during her first 12 months in the position. Abbie is now being supported by BBMW, along with another Apprentice in their Hove office, while she undertakes her Level 3 qualification, which she is due to complete in 2016. Abbie says: “I’m thrilled to be moving onto the next level. The whole BBMW team has been very positive and supportive throughout my apprenticeship.” Asked why she likes being an apprentice, Abbie continues: “I’ve learnt so much in such a short space of time and have realised I’ve got skills and strengths that I never knew I had. I also like the independence it gives me - being paid whilst learning is great!”
The government has pledged to create three million apprenticeship places over the next five years. More and more employers are embracing this initiative and reaping the rewards of recruiting an apprentice, but there are still barriers to overcome. Alison says: “Taking on a young person has really opened our eyes and shown the benefits that apprenticeships can bring to our business. Abbie is hardworking, dedicated and has brought a whole new level of fresh enthusiasm and innovation to the team. Sometimes, you have to give things a go – and I would encourage other local businesses to follow in our footsteps and consider the option of recruiting an apprentice.”
Alison’s top tips for mentoring an apprentice are:
Always encourage an open door policy
Provide frank and honest feedback to encourage development and a two-way dialogue
Delegate small tasks initially, allowing an individual to build up their knowledge and confidence
Be realistic – balance expectations and time frames fairly against age, workload and learning curves
Reward success and initiative with greater responsibility
Give praise and constructive advice in equal measure
Angela Crane, Careers & Recruitment Operations Manager, Northbrook College, comments: “Abbie and her apprenticeship at BBMW is a fantastic example of how, collaboratively, apprenticeships should and do work – to the benefit of all parties involved”.
Northbrook College offers a free apprenticeship recruitment support and advice service to companies across West Sussex , in addition to their own recruitment procedures. If you are interested in recruiting an apprentice or want to learn more about how your business can benefit from our apprenticeship scheme, please visit
or contact Angela Crane on 01903 273375 /