Feelgood Creative is a Reading-based website and design agency, specialising in print and digital. Founded by Ian Guppy, the team took on their first apprentice Luke Reynolds in March 2017. Ian shared his experience and what he’s learned with us.
Why did you start taking on apprentices?
I had reached the point where I needed someone else in the company who could become a key member of the Feelgood team. I wanted someone who had the core skills – confident, engaged, intuitive- and a passion for digital design and development. The apprenticeship scheme makes the above possible. I can help Luke become a great designer with a good understanding of the business. The apprenticeship scheme can provide the core web development skills we need.
What is your apprenticeship scheme and how many apprentices do you currently employ?
We only have Luke at the moment. Luke is just about to complete his Level 3 apprenticeship in Web Design & Social Media. He is going to continue on the apprenticeship scheme in September when he will be starting his Level 4 Web and Software Development.
What business problems can apprenticeships help to solve?
Luke gives Feelgood Creative a fresh pair of eyes and different ways of approaching a brief. Having the opinion of someone who has just turned 20 is a great asset for any forward looking company. His design and web development skills also allow us to start pushing into new areas of digital design.
What do apprentices want from employers?
Apprentices need hands-on experience, responsibility and a defined role within the company. It’s also about a clear career path, developing skills in the work place and feeling part of the design community. It’s about giving them visibility too, so opportunities to meet clients and be a core part of the design process.
And what do employers want from apprentices?
As an employer, good communication skills, the ability to listen, contributes ideas and opinions is vital. What can make or break an apprenticeship is a positive attitude, having confidence in their abilities and being able to work as a team as well as individually. Make it fun, too.
When it comes apprenticeships, what does success look like?
Watching the apprentice grow in confidence, using the skills that they’ve learnt and discovering new talents. The ultimate success is becoming someone who is highly employable in their area of expertise.
What gets in the way of this success?
A number of things. Lack of opportunity, not taking risks, not allowing an apprentice to take ownership in the workplace as well as not using the skills they can offer.
What lessons have you learnt?
Working as a team with new and different ideas only makes the end result better. For me, key learnings have been how to delegate effectively, brief a member of the team so that they fully understand the end goal and management skills. Giving someone the opportunity to grow is very rewarding.
What’s next for you and your apprenticeship roadmap?
Luke will be moving a level 4 apprenticeship as well as developing his role as web designer at Feelgood. It’s been so successful, we’re now looking at taking on another apprentice as a graphic designer too.