GeoPlace is an innovative, fast growing company focussed on data management, IT, data acquisition and distribution. Working with every local authority in England and Wales as well as national organisations such as Ordnance Survey, Royal Mail and the Valuation Office Agency, it's important that GeoPlace has the ability to attract people who can bring fresh ideas into this fast changing sector.
When GeoPlace was looking to expand its team it realised that company-specific skills and knowledge would be more valuable than general IT experience or qualifications. Which is why it looked to apprenticeship schemes, rather than traditional recruitment methods the company wanted committed, ambitious people who realised the value of combined theoretical and practical training to progress their careers.
Working within the Government's Apprenticeship Scheme, GeoPlace has so far employed three apprentices. The formal training received as part of the government funded scheme helps develop both technical and soft skills, and having regular assessor visits keeps things relevant and on track.
As James Rodger, GeoPlace's Head of IT Services and Operations said: "We've found it's important to invest time initially in on-the-job mentoring to ensure a good fit with what the business needs, but with fewer preconceptions than more experienced people there's greater adaptability and motivation to learn which means competence develops quickly. An apprenticeship has proved to be a cost-effective way of filling an entry-level position, and it's also been great to see someone develop new skills and grow in confidence over a relatively short period of time."
Discussing the experience of employing Lee as a Data Analyst in her team, Emily Griffiths, Head of Data Quality and Analytics added: "Lee joined us in July 2014 and has impressed everyone in the team with his enthusiasm and willingness to learn. Over the last year he has developed an in-depth knowledge of the work that GeoPlace does, which is invaluable to us, as well as improving his technical skills with courses in SQL and Java through the apprenticeship scheme. This meant that when Lee's apprenticeship came to an end we were able to offer him a full-time role within the company.
It's not just GeoPlace which has benefitted from the experience, the three apprentices have also found the experience to be positive.
Firaz Iqbal, IT Support Technician believes that: "Taking on an apprenticeship has been a life changing experience and the right decision for me. It has given me the ability to not only gain experience but most importantly given me the strength to tackle through day to day obstacles. It really did help get me on the IT career ladder and an opportunity to receive recognised IT qualifications".
Luke Sisterson, Service Desk Analyst added: "My attraction to the apprenticeship scheme was the fact I could essentially "earn while I learn". The scheme allowed me to gain access to a difficult market and secure a job that was relevant to both my interests and my skills, even though I'd had no real workplace experience at all. The in-depth knowledge gained from the course and the practical environment I was placed in have helped me grow into a strong-minded professional and achieve certifications that I can be proud of. Today, I continue to expand my skills and what was once simply a job is now an aspiring career".
The experience has been equally as positive for Lee who said: "My experience of being an apprentice has been an interesting one. It allowed me to get a job with little experience, so that I could train over the course of the placement. IT is an industry I was massively struggling to find a place in due to the lack of experience, however the apprenticeship helped overcome that obstacle. The course itself has helped me gain some practical knowledge in areas I may have previously not looked at. It has helped teach me, which has helped me gain permanent employment with GeoPlace, and a future career. As someone who has an innate thirst for knowledge, but strongly dislikes the structure of the education system, the apprenticeship allowed me to continue learning while earning money at the same time".
GeoPlace is proud of the achievements of the apprentices that we have hired. We have found it overwhelmingly positive and being able to offer permanent positions to the Apprentices that have completed the programme has been a natural conclusion to the experience.
Notes to editors:
GeoPlace is a public sector limited liability partnership between the Local Government Association and Ordnance Survey. GeoPlace's role is to create and maintain the National Address Gazetteer infrastructure and the National Street Gazetteer for England and Wales, providing definitive sources of publicly-owned spatial address and street data for Great Britain.
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