Leeds-based vehicle rental company, Nexus Rental, have shown themselves to be key ambassadors for apprenticeships, with a real focus on building a diversely skilled workforce.
The company’s ‘NexSteps’ programme encourages learners to gain experience within different teams and become a more flexible and satisfied employee. Learners can gain experience in teams such as management, IT, and accounting, creating a niche, multi-skilled role for themselves within the business.
Participants can either progress upwards or laterally, meaning they can either move up through the levels and become an expert in a specific field, or they can build their competency by gaining experience in different departments. There’s even the flexibility to achieve both, with the potential of increasing their post-apprenticeship salary by 60%.
Getting the right start
The Nexus apprentices start off by picking up tasks and responsibilities from different teams across the business. This gives them a taste of where they would be best suited, where they can then choose which team they would like to develop in whenever they are ready.
Apprentice Rosie Noble took on various responsibilities for a month before progressing into a role in accounts admin. She had already completed a level 2 qualification in accountancy, but had decided to continue with an apprenticeship, which would give her a more holistic view of working within a business.
‘An apprenticeship is also a great chance to earn while you learn different skills, and gain work experience,’ she said. ‘These days it’s really hard being younger and not having experience, and apprenticeships are a really good opportunity to get the experience you need.’
Gayle Howarth, Operations Development Manager, went on to explain the benefits of having apprentices around at Nexus.
‘We are now in our third year of working with Babington,’ she said. ‘Because of this successful relationship, we have been able to create a career path for our apprentices to aspire to on completion of their courses.’
‘Inviting apprentices to join the Nexus team has introduced fresh ideas and improved the diversity of our workforce.’
Gayle also went on to explain how the programme works, and how it can help develop future business leaders.
‘When an apprentice first arrives, they will progress on the scheme for 12 months. If during the first 6 months they display initiative and capability, and we see a star there, we’ll offer them a salary boost,’ she said.
‘If they show management potential, and they have the skills to lead people, then we would suggest they move up to expert level on their team, and then into management. This of course comes with an increased salary.’
‘However, we know that this route doesn’t suit everybody. Some people prefer to be a technical expert, rather than managing people. These people then have the opportunity to become an expert across more departments, and increase their salary that way, rather than going down the management route.
‘We also roll out this programme to all our staff – not just new apprenticeship starts.’
Becoming leaders through apprenticeships
Jordan Faulkner decided to assess his options after realising college wasn’t the right path for him. He found an apprenticeship with Nexus and has been there for 12 months.
‘I’d heard nothing of apprenticeships beforehand, but I decided to give it a go,’ he said. ‘With an apprenticeship you can come into a new business, and not only get a qualification at the end, but you also get offered the job as well.’
The NexSteps programme has also enabled apprentices like Jordan to take an alternative career path while using the skills he has already gained.
‘It’s good to know that I can also go into further education within Nexus on their programme. I want to complete my level 3 apprenticeship first, but then I want to move onto the team leading career path.’
Gayle Howarth explained how the opportunity for flexible learning and further development has now become a key part of the Nexus culture.
‘Since the introduction of our NexSteps career path, 37% of the existing staff have requested the opportunity for further personal development. Encouraging our people to achieve personal and company goals has established itself as a factor in our continued success.’