Apprenticeships are key at Octink

Apprenticeships are high on the agenda for display specialist Octink, as the company puts a lot of emphasis on support for school and college leavers as they start out in their careers. Keen to give young people work experience and employability skills, and develop staff both for themselves and for the benefit of the company, it is an area of significant focus, and has been for many years. The company also backs local initiatives like Spark! to prepare people for working life and to enhance their employability through practical, accredited and inspiring work-related experiences.

Mike Freely, Managing Director at Octink, comments: “The skills shortage and what industry can do about it has been very visible in recent months, and as a company we pride ourselves on being active in supporting young people and staff in their progression. We believe that everyone should have development plans, and embarking on an apprenticeship is a great way to kick start those plans, while also bringing talent and skills into the company.”

Recent examples of where Octink has encouraged staff to develop include a school leaver who has just completed a signmaking apprenticeship, and an office junior who showed such initiative that Octink had no hesitation in enrolling her as an apprentice to complete an NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration. And it’s not just for young people - long standing staff member Mike Bains is embarking on a higher apprenticeship in construction operations management. Mike has worked at Octink for 15 years, and in this timeframe he has been given opportunities for development in nearly every area of the business.

“As a long term employee, I can honestly say that Octink puts people at the heart of how it conducts business. Since I started out in the sign workshop all those years ago, whenever I have shown interest or an aptitude for a certain area of the business the company has supported me and encouraged me to pursue those skills and obtain qualifications in that area. The higher apprenticeship that I am just starting will really help my career leap forward, with the option to extend it in 2016 to convert it to a full construction management degree,” says Mike.

Mike Freely concludes, "We hope that our efforts to develop our staff and young people within our local community not only help them in their career paths, but also set a good example for all companies of our size. With more apprenticeship opportunities opening up in industry then hopefully the skills shortage will start to resolve.”