ISO Spaces recognised as a SERFA Apprenticeship Champion

We are pleased to be supporting The Services for Apprenticeships (SERFA) project and have been recognised as an Apprenticeship Champion. The SERFA Champions are volunteers and mentors from micro, small and medium sized enterprises who give up their own time to inform and communicate positively about their experience in apprenticeship to other businesses and young people with an interest in an apprenticeship.

The project was founded in October 2016 with the following aims:

  • To better understand barriers faced by SMEs
  • To support businesses in identifying their potential to offer apprenticeships vacancies
  • To co-design, with SMEs, the services, tools and products that will help remove these barriers
  • To promote the value of apprenticeships in SMEs and their benefits through an “Apprenticeship Champions” campaign

ISO Spaces and our Apprentices

How many apprentices have we taken on?
We have taken on three apprentices since September 2017.

Why have we invested in taking on Apprentices?
Whilst shipping container conversions lend themselves to many transferrable skills, we found ourselves often struggling to reach out to the external market for the right blend of such skills. With little to indicate that this issue would go away, we decided to explore different avenues for finding new talent that had a passion for learning and personal development. Having spoken to the Cornwall Apprenticeship Agency (CAA), it quickly became apparent that Apprenticeships could be one of the solutions to a longer-term team skills development strategy.

What have been the biggest benefits for our business in taking on Apprentices?
ISO Spaces considers itself to be a designer and manufacturer of unique products in a growing market with an expanding team. As such, we are always looking for a particular type of employee. We’re a new, yet already established business that is still learning and we encourage our staff to be brave enough to learn through their mistakes without the worry of operating in a blame culture environment. So, for us, apprentices have brought us continuation of that open-minded approach to working and learning. Whether you’re the Director or an Apprentice, we’re all in it together, striving to it the ISO Spaces way.

How have Apprentices integrated with the skilled workers in the business?
Whether factory or office based, we’ve found that our Apprentices have brought a new type of enthusiasm to an already energetic business. Their natural appetite for learning and passion for exploring the new has really rubbed off on the more established members of the team. Consequently, it’s given many of the experienced staff a change to mentor or lead, in turn allowing them to move towards the next stage of their career path.

Our advice to other businesses?
Firstly, we would strongly encourage any SME to sense check why they think and Apprentice is right for them. Apprentices are of all ages, backgrounds and experiences and an Apprenticeship is not a forced avenue.

If you think Apprenticeships might be right for you, then stop thinking and make the next action that involves speaking to the experts. We wasted to much times internally deliberating, wondering how it could or would work. From the moment we engaged CAA, the path forward became clearer. We better understood what Apprentices would be looking for from us and how we could reach out to the right type of candidates. There is also the added benefit of support along the way, but ultimately, we always had control.

You can find out more about the SERFA project here.