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Seeking enthusiastic applicants

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: February 27, 2014

QUALIFICATION: Michael O'Connell's apprenticeship with North Devon Homes will give him a qualification without any debt.

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WHILE it's easy to think that employers are only interested in taking on people with lots of qualifications, independent research and feedback from businesses show that attitude is a key consideration when recruiting.

This was demonstrated by North Devon Homes' response to Michael O'Connell's passion during his interview for a finance assistant apprenticeship. Katrina Mack, human resources advisor, explained: "Michael demonstrated that he wanted to learn. He had a can-do attitude and was clearly enthusiastic."

Positive attitude is one of the attributes that businesses want to see when interviewing a school or college leaver for a prospective job. The findings of the recent Skills Research showed that North Devon and Torridge employers sought communication skills and a good work ethic, which included timekeeping and attendance, from career starters applying for jobs.

These "soft" or "transferable" skills were closely followed by motivation, common sense and customer service skills. Local businesses also said that in order to prepare education leavers for the working environment they needed additional life or work experience.

In Michael's case he had already demonstrated a work ethic with the supermarket job he was doing beforehand. Demonstrating use of these soft skills through involvement in a club, society or by volunteering will also benefit a prospective employee's CV.

North Devon Homes, the not-for-profit Registered Provider (RP) managing some 3,000 homes, has experienced a good return on its investment in apprenticeships. Gemma Hawkins started her apprenticeship in 2011 and Laura Harding completed hers in September 2013. Both are now employed full time on fixed-term contracts. Kylie Rogerson has also been working as a customer service apprentice since October.

Do you grow your own talent through apprenticeships? Email your experience to us at business@northdevonjournal.co.uk

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