Small businesses leading the way

Small businesses leading the way

A Bradford company has given their backing to a new campaign launched by His Royal Highness the Duke of York KG which aims to encourage more small businesses to recruit apprentices, as part of wider moves to boost young people’s skills and kickstart economic growth. Twenty-year-old Jonah Rooke from

Twenty-year-old Jonah Rooke from Tandem Marketing Solutions Ltd, Bradford, was one of three apprentices and their bosses who met His Royal Highness The Duke of York KG at the launch of the Leeds City Region Apprenticeship Challenge at the Royal Armouries on March 4th.

The campaign aims to secure at least 1,000 SMEs across Leeds City Region offering apprenticeships for 16 to 24-year-olds during the next financial year. Tandem Marketing Solutions Ltd specialises in direct marketing services. Jonah and his employer Russell McGrath were asked on stage to speak to businesses at the conference about the benefits of apprenticeships. Jonah completed a business administration apprenticeship at the company in September 2012.

He was based in the workplace four days a week and studied at Shipley College one day a week. Now he has found job success. On completion of his apprenticeship in September 2013 he was appointed Operations Assistant at Tandem Marketing.

Jonah has recently been promoted to Operations Controller in January 2014. Jonah said: “It was a real privilege to meet His Royal Highness the Duke of York and was the culmination of a very successful and rewarding period for me. Becoming an apprentice was the best move for me. Not only did I get to experience working in an office environment but I also was able to develop my people skills and achieve a number of qualifications in the process. The icing on the cake was being offered a full time permanent position with Tandem at the end of my apprenticeship. I now have a career, not just a job, and my recent promotion fills me with confidence for the future.” The benefits of having an apprentice have had a marked impact on the firm.

Russell McGrath, Managing Director, added: “Although initially sceptical, especially as we are a micro business, the benefits we have enjoyed as a result of taking on an apprentice have made me an enthusiastic advocate of the apprenticeship programme. The time I was able to free up allowed me to focus on attracting new clients and growing the business, comfortable in the knowledge that the day to day administration and database duties were being looked after effectively.

“As a direct result of taking on an apprentice we were able to generate new business which resulted in employing an additional two new members of staff. To have the chance to share our experience with other businesses and to have the high profile support of The Duke of York is invaluable in raising awareness of apprenticeships and the sound commercial benefits they can bring.”

Russell McGrath started Tandem Marketing in 2008. He feels that his biggest professional achievement is setting up the business during the depth of the recession to help other small businesses gain opportunities. The business has seven staff. The company is planning to recruit three more staff including another apprentice.