Robert Irving, Head of Newcastle Business Support at Brewin Dolphin, and Faye Turnbull-Stoker, Business Support Apprentice at Brewin Dolphin, share their views on the value and importance of apprenticeships.
Robert Irving, Head of Newcastle Business Support at Brewin Dolphin
Sum up your business in the time it takes to make a brew.
Brewin Dolphin is one of the leading, independent wealth management companies in the UK. We have over 1,600 employees across 30 offices with £39.5bn in total funds (as at 31st December 2018).
We have three main centres for our operations and administration services, Edinburgh, London and here in Newcastle, where we employ 180 staff, including some of our apprentices.
What types of apprenticeships do you offer?
Currently we offer a Business Administration Apprenticeship, which we launched around the time the apprenticeship levy was introduced.
That was very much a coincidence. We put a lot of work into launching our apprenticeship scheme to ensure it was done properly. We had to build the proper infrastructure and get all our employees onboard. We spent a lot of time getting it right.
Our Business Support Apprenticeship is open to anyone but we saw an opportunity to work with A Level students and that’s something we’ve actively pursued.
We’re currently setting up a Wealth Management Apprenticeship too.
What value do apprentices bring to your business?
Apprentices offer much value to our company. They allow us to engage with our local community and source talented individuals to join Brewin Dolphin – like Faye.
We work closely with schools and we have a good relationship with the Head Of Business at Walbottle Campus. So far, 12 students have visited our offices to experience the world of work.
Apprentices also help us fill natural vacancies, which supports the growth of the company. When staff do move on or retire, we can look to our apprentices to fill those roles. New recruits can take three to six months to train, apprentices already know the company so can hit the ground running.
It also helps us make savings on recruitment fees and advertising, as we can source employees from inside the organisation.
Would you encourage young people to consider apprenticeships over other routes to employment, further education for example?
The business community needs to support schools to promote apprenticeships and help change the mindset that they are just for jobs like engineering or manufacturing. There’s a lot of pressure on schools to push students towards higher education too.
There are lots of apprenticeship opportunities in different sectors making them a good opportunity for young people.
Again, working with Walbottle Campus, we offered four students a work placement for a week. Two of those students decided they really enjoyed it and would like to work here. I’m delighted to say they both won an apprenticeship.
How do you go about recruiting apprentices and is it difficult?
We work with a training provider, Gateshead College. They are really committed to apprenticeships and for the past two years have supported us with recruitment.
Their tutors are always available, and they visit our apprentices on site at Brewin Dolphin to support them with their academic learning.
To date, we have offered four apprenticeships every six months and Gateshead College helps us find the right people for our business. They do a brilliant job.
Would you recommend apprenticeships to other businesses?
Absolutely, if you do it properly you will reap the rewards. It’s vital to get the right structure in place and really commit, as a company, to apprenticeships.
Apprentices bring a positive energy to the office. All the employees really take them under their wing and it’s fantastic to see them develop and grow.
Faye won National Apprentice of the Year through Gateshead College and we were all so proud of her and what she’s achieved here with us.
Faye Turnbull-Stoker, Business Support Apprentice at Brewin Dolphin
What kind of apprenticeship are you doing?
I’m currently doing a Business Admin Level Three Apprenticeship with Brewin Dolphin.
What excited you about the apprenticeship scheme?
I finished school and went straight into sixth form but I wasn’t enjoying the school environment anymore. An apprenticeship really interested me because it meant I could gain valuable skills and experience, and earn money at the same time.
What’s the best bit about splitting time between work and study?
My tutor came to Brewin Dolphin so I didn’t have to travel to Gateshead College all the time. We used an online portal to go through my work together.
The team leaders and managers at Brewin Dolphin were all really supportive and understood I had to study alongside the day job.
How does it feel to be part of the world of work?
I really enjoy it. I’ve learned a lot and have lots of qualifications. At school I feel like a lot of the information you learn is just to pass an exam. At Brewin Dolphin I’ve gained loads of new skills and learnt so much because every six months you move to a different part of the business.
Is there a reason why you chose to follow the apprenticeship route over other routes available to you?
I was never too sure what I wanted to do. I worked at my dad’s company for a bit and liked the finance side of things.
I decided I wanted to learn as I was working. I didn’t know many people doing an apprenticeship, but they’re a much bigger thing now. So many people with a degree can’t get a job but I’ve gained a qualification whilst earning, so I’m one step ahead of everyone else.
Would you recommend others become an apprentice too?
I’ve had a really good experience, especially here at Brewin Dolphin. The scheme is great.
Some apprentices get stuck doing the photocopying but I’ve got a qualification and valuable work experience, and it’s given me the chance to try new things and get practical skills in the world of work.
- The value of investments can fall and you may get back less than you invested.
- Brewin Dolphin is authorised and regulated by the FCA