Company leaders can become “business parents” when they employ young people as apprentices, says an influential boss.
Andy Cook, managing director of digital imaging firm FFEI, in Maylands, Hemel Hempstead, told a meeting on Friday that employing young people was a sign of a positive, forward-looking business.
“We have mentors who help them grow through the business,” said Mr Cook, who was once an apprentice himself.
“One of our mentors said ‘it’s great being like a business parent’, seeing them grow into the company is such a positive experience.”
The meeting, to launch the Dacorum Apprenticeship Campaign, was held at Shendish Manor Hotel, in Apsley. Delegates heard that Dacorum Borough Council has put £51,000 aside to top up government grants available to business to take on apprentices.
Mr Cook and other speakers said it made business sense for companies to take apprentices. Indeed Mr Cook likes his suppliers to have apprentices because he believes they are forward-looking and ambitious.
Jacky Bennett, who chairs the trustees at Apsley Paper Trail, said: “You can give them the first step on the ladder” and spoke of the breadth of apprenticeships available.
Tom Hunt, an apprentice at the Paper Trail, said he thought he helped the business because of his age and that he has an intuitive knowledge of computers.
Dave Tenny, general manager of Hertsmere Leisure Centre, said firms should not pay young people the minimum possible but “as much as you can” and to tackle any bad habits they have at work by teaching them.
MPs David Gauke (Hertfordshire South West) and Mike Penning (Hemel Hempstead) were also there to support the campaign.
Firms looking to take apprentices should email firstname.lastname@example.org