A Barlborough company dedicated to supporting young talent has gained recognition during National Apprenticeship Week (4-8 March) for its commitment to apprenticeships, receiving the Employer of the Month award from Learning Unlimited.

The team at UK Search received the accolade after they were nominated by staff at the national apprenticeship and training provider. Their award is apt as the theme for this year’s National Apprenticeship Week, coordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, is Blaze a Trail and aims to celebrate apprenticeships and how they are a viable alternative to going to university.

UK Search began working with Learning Unlimited, part of the Chesterfield College Group, two years ago. As the company was growing, they required more staff and needed team members with the right attitude to help them develop. Learning Unlimited helped them recruit their first apprentice. Based on the success of its first apprentice, the debt collection specialist has since recruited four more apprentices, who are working with the company while studying professional qualifications.

Managing Director of UK Search, Cliff Poole, said: “We are very proud to receive this award. Each of our apprentices have become an important part of the team. They are real assets to the business. They bring new talent to the team and a fresh perspective.”

“Our very first apprentice, Kelsey Hodgson, made a really positive impact on our business from the start. In fact, Kelsey was awarded our Employee of the Year in recognition for how she has made a positive difference. I wanted to give other young people the chance to develop in the same way and I’m sure they will develop and benefit our company too.”

Kelsey, from Hasland, began her apprenticeship with UK Search after deciding full time study wasn’t for her. She was half way through studying for A Levels at Sixth Form when she realised she didn’t want to stay at school. “It just wasn’t for me. I was ready to work and so applied for an apprenticeship and I love working at UK Search. It’s a friendly place to work and I like the fact I’m earning and learning at the same time.”

The 19-year-old soon found that she was learning new skills at work, whilst also learning at college and became steadily better at her job. In fact, after completing her Level 2 in Business Administration, it has inspired her to continue to higher level studies and is now part way through her Level 3 Apprenticeship.

“I didn’t want to study at school but learning while at work isn’t the same. I go to college and when I come back to the office, I can put things put things into practise.”

She has even been able to introduce new procedures in the workplace, based on work she has completed as part of her studies, and she was responsible for writing a process manual which is now being used by colleagues.

Similarly, fellow apprentice Madeleine Brown, was half way through Sixth Form when she too decided that she’d prefer to follow the apprenticeship route rather than go on to university. She now works as an apprentice in the IT department of UK Search.

The 18-year-old, from Worksop, said: “I completed my A Levels but didn’t want to continue in full time education and joined UK Search last year. I’m enjoying working here and it’s a great opportunity to gain valuable work experience and study professional qualifications and it’s the best way to start my career in IT.”

Mark Bennington, Vice Principal, Commercial Services and Enterprise at the Chesterfield College Group, said: “UK Search are a very worthy award winner. They are a very supportive employer and positively embrace apprenticeships. They see the benefits of what an apprentice can bring to their business and appreciate that they are an asset to the company, whilst also offering individuals the opportunity to develop their skills and their career.”

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