Meet Rachel, an apprentice’s manager

As National Apprenticeship Week continues, we’re talking to our marketing director Rachel Dalby, manager to digital marketing apprentice Grace, who we met earlier this week.


What values do apprentices bring to Mobile Mini?

For me, I feel apprentices bring a variety of skills. The apprenticeship itself is effectively a case of juggling work tasks and on-the-job training, with exams and coursework, so they need to be adaptable to balance all those commitments.


Quite often people have chosen to do an apprenticeship to get more practical on-the-job training, while taking on responsibility in the workplace, and I love the idea of people coming on board who want to learn and want to work hard.


What skills do apprentices bring that other recruitment routes don’t?

One key advantage is that apprenticeships can often respond to business needs very quickly for certain roles. As soon as you have completed the necessary forms and submitted an advert online, the process can be really quick from advert to hiring, then starting the course.


Apprentices have usually done research into the areas they are applying for, to work out if it suits them, so they are genuinely dedicated to developing in their chosen field. There is huge potential to take their enthusiasm, curiosity and passion to develop to mould and shape their career with the business.


Has having an apprentice changed your approach to management?

I’ve treated Grace as a full-time member of the team from the start. Like everyone else, she underwent a probationary review, and we sat down together to set objectives for her. Grace has a crucial role in providing reporting information for our team meetings and working with me to plan and monitor our social media accounts.


I am in awe of her determination in her career choices from such an early age, choosing to research marketing apprenticeships and go down the route she has.


Sometimes it’s an apprentice’s first experience in a working environment so it’s not just department skills that they are learning. It’s useful to remember that although you have experience of working in different companies, not everyone is familiar with general day-to-day expectations of working in a large company, so I’d expect to spend a little more time explaining things like working practices and the office code of conduct.


Why did you choose to recruit an apprentice in your department?

I have previously recruited a digital apprentice and the scheme was fantastic. Having the guidance from the training provider really helped us both, as having someone else to make sure they capture the correct evidence helps them to follow the framework.


Apprentices not only bring a fresh pair of eyes to the team, they also bring new ideas and a curiosity to learn. When Grace brings back ideas from talking to her course mates, it’s really valuable for the company – that fresh way of looking at things is so inspiring.