Award winning telecoms firm invests in Apprentices

talk straight 2AWARD winning Ilkley telecoms firm, Talk Straight, has invested in five apprentices to drive forward its growth plans.

The Yorkshire company, which won the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) Best Business Use of The Cloud for it’s School Broadband brand, has appointed the five to support its education and SME offer.

Talk Straight, which is an approved Superconnected Cities Broadband Provider, has appointed three Technical Support apprentices and one each in Service Delivery and Accounts.

The investment is not the first time the Ilkley company has turned to local schools and colleges as it expands.  Operations Manager, Sara Arrowsmith, explained:  “Talk Straight has had a positive experience of employing apprenticeships.

“An apprentice is a blank canvas, soaking up information relevant to our highly demanding sector like a sponge.  Previous apprentices have progressed quickly and become fully active and valued members of the team within months of their appointment; meaning they enjoy the same benefits as their colleagues sooner.

“Apprentices have energy and enthusiasm and they are incredibly IT literate; quick to learn new skills and implement them in the work place.  They are skilled at navigating software, which for a telecoms provider such as Talk Straight is vital.

“We operate a structured training programme in conjunction with the local college, which has enabled us to recruit high quality, local candidates who want to learn.  It is a benefit for the business and the apprentice,” she added.

Carole Mawson, of the technical support team, is in no doubt about the benefits of an apprentice: “Technical support demands a high level of customer interaction – recruiting staff with outstanding customer service skills is essential in order to provide a highly effective and professional service to our customers. We have experienced difficulties in the past when trying to recruit candidates with the required balance of technical and customer service skills. We have found with the apprentices that they have a real passion for IT along with strong interpersonal and communication skills. They bring a flexible approach and are very committed to the scheme.

Whilst working with us and progressing through a training programme, they benefit from experience in a corporate environment, learn first-hand the importance of good customer service and gain hands on experience in a front line technical services team,” she said.

Tim Sedgwick, Financial Director, said: “Talk Straight has always had a commitment to invest in the future and give young people an opportunity.  Our whole workforce is relatively young and we as a company have benefitted from that.

“Having an apprenticeships scheme creates an environment of learning and achievement where other colleagues see them do well and aspire to emulate them.  Many have since asked for training opportunities and we have been able to offer that,” he added.

“Talk Straight is also keen to offer our apprentices quick career progression so that we promote them as soon as they are ready.  They all join us on more attractive terms than the minimum under the National Apprenticeship Scheme, but within months they all enjoy even more generous rewards.”

Oliver Hudson, George Harden and Scott Pickard work in technical support, Sam Simmonite works in service delivery while Jack Leach works in the accounting team.

Caption:  From left to right, they are: Oliver Hudson, Scott Pickard, Sam Simmonite, Jack Leach and George Harden.