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Celebrating the success of Currys, our first Apprentice Employer of the Year!

The winner of Reed Learning’s first Apprentice Employer of the Year is the best known retailer in tech, Currys, the all-inclusive approach to apprenticeships the organisation adopts across the business.

Here we congratulate Currys on winning the award and ask Jonny Bevan, the company’s Emerging Talent Manager, why apprenticeships are so important to the business.

How do you feel about winning our first Apprentice Employer of the Year award?

We were delighted to win the award. There is real enthusiasm for apprenticeships at Currys. We offer over 60 different apprenticeship standards and have developed more than 1300 apprentices across the business. They are a cornerstone of our talent strategy not just for early careers but to develop our existing population and are key to our people plan as an organisation.

Why did you choose Reed Learning for your HR and L&D apprenticeships?

We looked at several learning providers but what stood out about Reed Learning was the expertise of the CIPD tutors.

Everyone was a specialist in their field and there was more of a personal touch. Since 2019 we have developed around 50 level 3 and level 5 apprentices in both HR and L&D and are enrolling more all the time. In 2023 we are looking to expand to level 7. The programme delivery overall is great, and we have received some strong positive feedback from our apprentices.

How do your apprentices manage the 20% off the job requirement of their programmes?

It is quite a commitment for a business and so it’s important to have managers buy-in to develop their people from the start, knowing the benefits this will bring in the long term. Their support is crucial to making our apprenticeships a success. It’s something that we have improved as a business over the last five years.

Are your HR and L&D apprentices progressing in their careers as a result of their programmes?

Yes definitely. We have apprentices who achieved promotion after completing their programme and we have people who progressed into other roles. We have colleagues who were doing the level 3 L&D apprenticeship who are now the lead learning specialists for our inductions and people who have moved from being an HR adviser to an HR business partner.

We have also broadened our scope to support the development of those who have HR career aspirations from outside of the function. Many of our apprentices received distinctions and so it is really pleasing to see the great results they achieved from their efforts.

How are apprenticeships integrated within the organisation?

Apprenticeships are core to our emerging talent strategy and are embedded as key development programmes. We use apprenticeships to upskill and reskill existing colleagues ensuring that we build capability, pipeline internal talent and offer career pathing opportunities.

This is the primary purpose of the programmes in HR and L&D. We use apprenticeships to develop people in their early careers, developing skills for life and supporting with social mobility.

What do you think are the main benefits of an apprenticeship programme?

Apprenticeships bring huge benefits to our organisation and ultimately help to engage colleagues with their own development. For example, we have used the L&D level 3 programme to develop our learning facilitators. Historically the team could only deliver face to face training sessions and facilitate workshops.

They are now equipped to deliver an end-to-end L&D journey from training needs analysis (TNA) to evaluation, making them much more valuable to the business and their client base. Apprenticeships also help with staff retention, building loyalty and creating more opportunities within the business.

What is your top tip to others thinking about starting an apprenticeship programme?

Encourage managers to become involved and engaged in understanding the benefits of an apprenticeship right from the outset. Help them to think about what this looks like in 18 months time and what they will get out of the programme from a capability perspective as well as a more engaged and motivated team.

Inspired by Currys story? Find out how Reed Learning can help nurture your talent with our apprenticeships for business.