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Swarm Apprenticeships gives insight into recruitment




I met recently with Harry Harris, group chief commercial officer of Swarm Apprenticeships. Harry is an avid supporter and active member of what he describes as Lynn’s vibrant business community.

Swarm also works in collaboration with Norfolk Chambers of Commerce and Solace Coaching on our two-hour Tuesday networking events, supporting local West Norfolk businesses.

I asked him what were the challenges of recruiting apprenticeships in West Norfolk.

Harry Harris, Group Chief Commercial Officer of Swarm Apprenticeships Photo: Sally Harris (27274690)
Harry Harris, Group Chief Commercial Officer of Swarm Apprenticeships Photo: Sally Harris (27274690)

He said by far the biggest challenge is the assumption that apprenticeships are a linear process.

He explained: “This isn’t true, for us it’s about working with the learner and the business, and creating a role that develops in an organic and impactful way. It has to be a process that allows, and encourages growth. Growth of the individual and the role they ‘grow into.’

“Making sure that the apprenticeship suits the need of the role and business, this means whilst it has to run in line with the course objectives, it also has to positively impact both.”

Chris Sargisson, CEO Norfolk Chambers of Commerce (27274688)
Chris Sargisson, CEO Norfolk Chambers of Commerce (27274688)

He explained the importance of great long term relationships with Lynn businesses, Freebridge Housing and The Purfleet Trust.

It’s easy to see this in action, as recently we have been the very happy recipient of one of Harry’s placements.

I asked him what are his top tips for getting the placement right.

He answered: “It is different from commercial recruitment, in the fact that we are recruiting for a position without the skills element.

“This has made us focus on the company values and how they would fit with it. We also concentrate on how we perceive the candidate’s ‘soft’ skills and the role into which they will be placed.”

“We look in far more depth at motivations of both the candidate and the team they will be placed into.

“I believe retention is the key. Businesses are beginning to wake up to the fact that their staff are not only their most valuable asset but are also human beings.

"We all have challenges, that is life, but when an employee feels supported and cared for by their employer, a trust is built which is the foundation of a valuable partnership."


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