As a one-man, in-house financed, business, Andy reports that it's not been easy to spin all the plates at once. Andy states:
"We've had to stand on our 2 feet with a small business loan from close family."
Andy tells us that, of the many benefits of the apprenticeship scheme, a key one for his business was that it allowed the flexibility and time to develop someone at a mutually appropriate pace and without the worry of financial constraints.
Andy told us that the apprenticeship scheme had allowed his apprentice, Chelsey, to settle into the job and build up her confidence in dealing with customers. From her initial nerves and lack of confidence, Andy reports that Chelsey now receives many compliments from customers on her retailing expertise, her positive manner and product knowledge. Andy says:
"She supports me with customer care, is methodical with great qualities. Chelsey has become a very responsible member of my team and she’s valued by every one of us.
"Working with our staff has been a very positive experience for Andy "I have found everyone to be very helpful and informative. I am kept up-to-date, they are willing to work with you and back up and explain things to the apprentice."
Chelsey has now been offered full-time permanent employment by Peter’s Shoes and Andy is working with us to hire another apprentice.
"After being given information from the Job Centre about the National Apprenticeship Service, I applied online for a customer service apprenticeship with Peters Shoes in Chesterfield. Initially I had a trial and then I started my apprenticeship with them in November 2014. Since then, I have been taught how to repair shoes, deal with customers, handle cash and the basics of good customer service.
I met with Carol Howe and Amanda Eade from Derbyshire County Council to talk about the apprenticeship in customer service and was initially quite nervous about the whole thing.
I started the NVQ first and quickly got into the routine of attending classes, achieving the modules with support from Amanda and surprisingly began to enjoy the challenge.
I joined a maths class with Angela Hubbard where I achieved a Level 2 Functional Skills qualification in a very short time. I also started English classes with Jacki Blagden and have already passed Functional Skills Level 1 and I am currently about to sit Level 2.
The whole experience was not as I initially expected, but it has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever undertaken.”