SMB Consultancy


High-profile businessman Stewart Rickersey insists employers that want to grow their business have a “responsibility” to nurture new talent.

The co-owner of Mansfield-based SMB Consultancy is doing exactly that, after hiring young apprentice Chloe Bowers to support its future growth.

Chloe, 18, joined the company – which provides sales, marketing and business support to small and medium-sized firms – last October.

She was recruited by Vision Apprentices – the college’s apprenticeship arm, which provides employers with high-calibre candidates.

Mr Rickersey said: “We’d reached the point where we needed some additional support and an apprentice just seemed the right route to take. I particularly wanted somebody young, who could be developed and ‘grow into’ the business.

“It’s partly about putting together a youthful team that can maintain the business going forward.

“The other advantage is that apprentices bring fresh ideas and add a different dimension to things.”

Chloe, of Park Avenue, Mansfield, originally planned to study a degree in events management after leaving sixth-form with three A-Levels, but felt university wasn’t for her.

Instead, the teenager decided to explore apprenticeships after speaking with her boyfriend, Daniel Richardson, also 18, who is an apprentice engineer.

She discovered her current position by visiting the Vision Apprentices website, which advertises apprenticeship vacancies on behalf of businesses.

Chloe said: “I thought an apprenticeship sounded a better option than university because I would gain a lot more practical experience while also getting paid. It just seemed the right decision for me.

“I applied online and somebody from Vision Apprentices contacted me later to say I’d been selected for interview and sent me all the details.

“They even rang to wish me good luck, which was nice, and telephoned me afterwards to ask me how it went.”

After securing the job, Chloe began a level 2 (intermediate) apprenticeship in business administration, which sees her gaining on-the-job experience while studying towards a vocational qualification.

The roles at SMB sees her performing various tasks ranging from client liaison and data-inputting to market-research and producing advertisements.

Chloe receives regular visits from a college assessor to go through her coursework and observe her in the workplace, while Chloe’s placement co-ordinator from Vision Apprentices meets with her each month to see how she doing.

Chloe said: “I’m so glad I chose the apprenticeship. I’ve been dealing with clients, selling advertising space, working on spreadsheets – lots of different things I wouldn’t have done at university.

“So, if I want to go from this apprenticeship into another job, I’ve got all this experience behind me.”

But for now, Chloe plans to progress to the level 3 (advanced) apprenticeship and sees a future for herself at the business where she has made such a big impression.

Mr Rickersey said: “Chloe is extremely bright, prompt and punctual, and she picks things up amazingly quickly – all the things you want in a successful young employee.”

The entrepreneur, who has a range of business interests and serves as an independent councillor on Mansfield District Council, is now urging other employers to get behind apprenticeships.

He said: “I think it’s important young people are given the opportunities. We all have a responsibility to help them acquire broader skills, because a commercial environment is different to school or college.

“If you can bring young people through, they will be very valuable to your business. I’m delighted that we are playing our part.”

To find out more about the benefits of taking on an apprentice, call us on 0800 121 8317