· Features

Developing bespoke courses

It's so important young people realise there are options beyond the confines of the classroom

For franchise businesses consistency is crucial. As one of the North’s fastest-growing franchisees, Sim Trava is no exception to this rule. Across all 25 of our Costa Coffee stores, as well as the two Pita Pit stores we run and manage, we strive to deliver consistently excellent customer service.

And we are firm believers that a happy workplace makes for a happy customer. As such, we have certain core business values that help us create a motivated and happy network of colleagues. One of the most important of these is growing our staff with our business.

To live by this value we recognise that delivering a robust training programme with clear direction is imperative. So we began developing our Sim Trava Academy in 2015.

Through the Academy we’ve been able to focus on something we’re particularly passionate about – apprenticeships.

And it’s not just us rooting for apprenticeships. The government has also put them on the national agenda.

The planned reforms will see the current ‘frameworks’ replaced with ‘standards’ – a two-page document that will outline, in detail, the competencies and skills that apprentices will be required to meet throughout their training programme. The standards document will also provide apprentices and employers with a more detailed assessment plan that sets out how these competencies can be achieved. At the end of their programme the apprentice will be independently assessed, rather than by their training provider as has been the case previously.

The government’s decision to reform its current apprenticeship programme is definitely one welcomed at Sim Trava. We have found in the past that with some of the more traditional tick-box apprenticeships young people were coming to us without the necessary skills. This then caused delays when it came to training up these new employees to Sim Trava standards.

This is why we took the initiative to develop our own bespoke 12-month NVQ apprenticeship programme. Ahead of the government’s announcement, we’ve spent the past 12 months developing a more tailored Sim Trava-specific course. This not only ensures our future staff are trained up for the actual job they’re doing ahead of the implementation of these government reforms, it also equips them with skills that are directly relevant to our business.

It’s so important that young people realise there are options out there open to them beyond the confines of the classroom. And the opportunities apprenticeships can present to businesses are unparalleled. Bringing in raw talent that can be moulded in line with your business is invaluable. Plus, for every £1 spent by the government on apprenticeships, £28 is pumped back into the economy – so it makes business sense to invest in apprenticeships.

Spurred on by a passion to grow our people with our business, Sim Trava is increasing its apprenticeship intake from 18 this year to 25 from next year onwards. We cherry-pick the best candidates for our apprenticeship programmes by attending careers fairs and working closely with local schools. Our focus is giving young people the necessary skills and tools with which to succeed in the working world and to map out a successful career with us.

Tracy Vardy is director of Sim Trava