March 31, 2023

We asked some of Ambassadors to tell us a little about themselves and outline their company’s apprenticeship journeys. We start with Intelect, which has been employing apprentices for more than quarter of a century…

Name: Lily Brothwood
Title: Marketing & Communications Manager
Company: Intelect

What does your organisation do?

Intelect are a mechanical and electrical engineering company servicing clients across various process industries including food and beverage manufacturing, utilities, renewables, and heavy industry.

How long has the company been employing apprentices?

We have been employing apprentices for 25 years now!

How many apprentices (approximately) has your organisation delivered?

We have had over 150 wonderful apprentices pass through our doors since we started our programme back in 1998 and currently, we have 31 apprentices working across the business.

Why are apprentices important?

Apprentices are integral to our organisation’s operation. Due to the niche industries that we work in, we are able to utilise apprenticeships to build a workforce for the future, helping to combat the skills shortages that our industry faces.

What is the biggest benefit apprentices provide?

Apprentices bring with them a wealth of innovation and new ideas. We also see a continuous cycle of knowledge transfer, as our regular, annual intakes ensure we have varying degrees of apprentices across every level of our organisation.

What is the most challenging aspect of providing apprenticeships?

The most challenging aspect of providing apprenticeships is the application process. It’s currently a very outdated and unrealistic approach for many small businesses due to the volumes of paperwork. Thankfully we are now well accustomed to this, however it is definitely a barrier to many SMEs when it comes to employing apprentices, and we’re glad to hear that changes to this process are being planned.

What would you say to any business considering providing apprenticeship?

Do it! The positives far out weigh the challenges when it comes to hiring apprentices. We’ve being committed to our programme for the last 25 years and have reaped the rewards that have come with this. We have endless success stories and you could too!

Finally, why is the North East Apprenticeships Ambassadors Network important?

The NEAAN is vital if we want to continue sharing and advocating positive stories about apprenticeships and the benefits they can bring to an organisation. Overall the country has seen a decline when it comes to people starting apprenticeships, and if we fail to engage with local businesses about why hiring an apprentice is a great choice, we simply won’t have enough employers to cover the demand.


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