Apprentices can get in on the ground floor with Tring’s Grass Roots

Not convinced that uni is for you? Attracted by the idea of working for a leading global firm with local roots? An apprenticeship might be the answer – and there are four on offer right now.

Learning on the job through an apprenticeship is on the increase again – and the firms offering the chance to start a career at the ground floor aren’t just the craft and manufacturing businesses which were best known for employing keen young trainees in the past.

Apprentice account executive Tiffany Choules, right, with line manager Mark Buckledee, who is an account director

Apprentice account executive Tiffany Choules, right, with line manager Mark Buckledee, who is an account director

The team at performance improvement company Grass Roots, based at Pennyroyal Court on the outskirts of Tring, have already seen the fruits of growing their own over the past two years, and the firm is now about to launch its third apprenticeship scheme.

Formed in a small office on Tring High Street in 1980, Grass Roots now has offices in 15 countries around the world, and employs more than 700 people in the UK alone.

It helps household names such as McDonalds, Barclays and Asda to improve their businesses by creating personalised incentive programmes, carrying out mystery shopper surveys and addressing digital marketing.

The company was ranked 56th in The Sunday Times’ 100 Best Mid-Sized Companies to Work For in 2012, and has appeared on the prestigious for four years in a row.

Apprentices are sought to join the Grass Roots team

Apprentices are sought to join the Grass Roots team

The well-oiled apprenticeship part of this business machine is maintained by HR business partner Trish Breen, who takes the youngsters under her wing and drives the programme forward.

She said: “It’s a pleasure to watch these fantastic young apprentices growing into their own full time positions.

“We have had excellent feedback from all the line managers that have taken them on.”

This year, the company is seeking four fresh-faced school-leavers who have just completed their A-levels for positions in technology, digital engagement, loyalty and insight and measurement and employee engagement.

Chief operating officer Andy Lister – who took the helm from company founder David Evans earlier this year – said: “I am extremely proud of all our existing apprentices.

“They are talented and energetic individuals who are adding great value across our business.

“Being able to offer fantastic opportunities and grow our apprenticeship allows us to play a special role in developing and nurturing these young people.”

Since the scheme was launched, there have been success stories throughout many departments in the business.

Senior designer Dave Sweeney works in Grass Roots’ creative studio, and took on the role of apprentice mentor.

He said: “Having these talented and enthusiastic individuals coming into our team has energised us. All the apprentices we have taken in are quick to learn new skills on the job.

Junior artworker apprentice Gemma Dalton, 19, joined the company’s creative department in October last year.

She said: “I’m so pleased to have secured one of the sought-after apprentice roles.

“I’m learning new things every day, I’m being supported and I feel like part of the family already.

“It’s great that I can earn while I learn, so I can be independent.”

The fruits of Gemma’s labours can be seen on this year’s apprenticeship information leaflet – she designed the logo, which shows a crowd of hands fighting to be picked.

The deadline for applications this year is July 31. Selected applicants will be invited to attend an assessment day in September, and the apprentices will be looking to start in October.

For detailed information on the roles available and to download an application form, click here.