Companies House is the UK’s registrar of companies and sits in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. They have just over 1,000 employees with offices in Cardiff (head office), London, Belfast and Edinburgh. Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is a big priority in the organisation with 16 staff networks advocating for a range of concerns.
After realising they were not attracting the people they were aiming for, Companies House decided to develop an apprenticeship scheme designed for underrepresented groups, including people from working class backgrounds. They started by building relationships with schools in deprived areas of Cardiff, removing all education qualification requirements, providing accessible information about apprenticeships and adopting a more informal interview style to allow for a greater range of expressions.
Companies House launched the programme in 2019 with only three apprentices. There were many lessons learnt early on, such as challenging the assumption that all apprentices were digitally savvy, which has led to a much more tailored approach that focuses on understanding and supporting the development of apprentices’ specific experiences and skills.
“The biggest thing that helped us initially was the idea of starting small. Building an apprenticeship that the business felt it could manage, apprentices would be individuals and valued members of the workforce. People we could get to know and really invest in their development and their training and time with us.”
– Martyn Flynn, Head of Resourcing, Companies House
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