The Giraffe Blog

What is the perfect age for an apprenticeship?

Posted Wednesday 7th November 2018 under WBL Sector Info

In a recent article written for the ILM, Barclays says every age. The organisation is championing apprenticeships – of all sorts and for everyone. With four main apprenticeship pathways, open to people of different ages and from different backgrounds, the organisation is setting an example to us all. They have really got to the heart of what apprenticeships can offer.

Hugh Mundy, now 59, started his Foundation Apprenticeship with Barclays in November 2017. Originally from Zimbabwe, where he pursued a 15-year career as a pilot and qualified flying instructor, Hugh moved to the UK in search of a more stable political situation. After facing a number of health issues, he struggled to get back to work.

"At my age, I thought it was very difficult to start something new, and it was only through a career adviser that I considered the Barclays apprenticeships - which I didn’t know existed."

Hugh told of his surprise when he discovered there were apprenticeships in Banking and Management. Previously he had, like many others, automatically associated them with trade professions, and didn’t realise that they could be used by people in lots of different circumstances, and at different points in their careers. Looking back, he reflects:

"This experience hasn’t changed my perception of what an apprenticeship is, it’s changed my awareness of who apprenticeships can be used by. Apprenticeships seemed always to be a way for non-university types to get into the workforce, and that’s not to say they are not academic; it’s just that some people choose not to go to university."

Amina Ishaq, also a Barclay's Apprentice on the Foundation Apprenticeship Programme, had a similar understanding of apprenticeships until recently. “I’ve seen many apprenticeship ads on TV and they were always putting an age to it: let’s say if you were 16, 17, 18, 24 maximum…That kind of put me off; not only am I older but when I was that age, nothing like this was offered to me.” It was only when she came across adverts for Barclays’ Apprenticeships that she realised it was possible to do an apprenticeship outside of the 16 – 24 demographic."

"Most people are not aware that you can do an apprenticeship as an older person, and there are plenty of people who would find them really valuable – for example, if they are out of work, want a career change, or want to get into something they don’t have any experience of doing. So, definitely, in that sense, it’s a false façade, from what I’ve seen with the age range. I guess anyone of any age can take an apprenticeship, it requires more practical skills than having an academic education, which you can pick up along the way anyway."

The benefits of an apprenticeship for all ages is not only visible on the apprentices’ side. Aside from being an inspiration for other organisations of the sort, the programme is equipping Barclays with one of its most important assets – motivated and skilled people.

Shaun Meekins, Head of Operations - Early Careers shares his views:

"We have an opportunity to redefine Apprenticeships. In today’s climate, we should be opening our doors to all candidate communities. Age, experience and levels of qualification are irrelevant. If we are to focus our attention on recruiting for potential, we should be offering a wholly inclusive and accessible channel through which anybody can apply. Equally, in order to reflect our customer base, having different generations of Apprentices creates a greater connection between our colleagues and our customers."

To read the full ILM article click here

Flexible working relieves hard-to-fill vacancies pressure

Posted Wednesday 10th October 2018 under WBL Sector Info

Flexible Hiring Champions pilot launches to widen talent pools for employers and address barriers to flexibility at work

The Timewise Foundation has published its latest Flexible Jobs Index, their annual report on the percentage of jobs which are advertised as being open to flexibility. Despite the demand for flexible working being at an all-time high, only 21.2% of jobs under £20K FTE and 11.1% of jobs over £20K FTE are advertised as being flexible. The percentage of jobs being advertised as open to flexibility has only risen by a small amount since the index was first published in 2016, highlighting the need to further challenge employers to think outside the box when it comes to the traditional model of a job. In order to tackle this, we are working in partnership with the Timewise Foundation on a new pilot which harnesses CIPD members to become Flexible Hiring Champions – to challenge current misconceptions and help leaders and managers build more innovative and inclusive workplaces.

Helen Wilson, Sales Director GPRS says, “It is great to see that many of our clients are now becoming more open to flexible working. More and more are now saying that they realise by acknowledging that many of the experienced Trainers and Assessors are parents and will choose to work for a company who will allow them to adapt their working day to fit in with childcare arrangements. Working remotely (from home) Trainers and Assessors can plan their learner visits so they can drop and collect children from school. This can mean a reduced working day, but many plough through their ever growing administration burden whilst the children are tucked up in bed. By tapping into this pool of talent, a company is opening itself to a wider range of applicants than standard 9 – 5 hours being offered.”

For the full article, please click here Helen Wilson's Profile

Top Tips for Hiring Senior People

Posted Friday 5th October 2018 under WBL Sector Info

As business owners see their companies grow, they come to the realisation that they cannot do it all, and in order for their business to prosper and expand, they are going to have to invest in an extra pair of hands to take over some of the responsibilities, or hire expert skills to help them realise their corporate dreams. Many of our clients’ first senior appointment are Lead Assessors to manage a small team, or a Quality Manager to help them work towards a higher Ofsted grading.

This can be a big step for many business owners as they seek to attract not only a person with the skills they need but also someone who shares similar values to you so they fit into the company culture. It can also be a bit frightening to have to fork out a salary that is higher than business owners have previously paid to employees.

Whether it is your first senior hire, or you’ve done it before many times, recruiting executive-level posts can be challenging and risky, but this risk can be minimised by dedicating serious time to a well-planned, thought-through process to help increase your odds of a successful appointment.

Top Tips for Hiring Senior People - download the full article in PDF format below:

Top Tips for Hiring Senior People

Job Interview Advice!

Posted Friday 21st September 2018 under Miscellaneous

Got an interview coming up? Check out our infographic below with some tips and advice on how to give yourself the very best chance of getting that job!

GPRS Interview Advice Infographic

Guest Blog: Five key questions to ask in a job interview

Posted Wednesday 25th April 2018 under Guest Blog

Author: Augusta Henning, PR Manager, CV Library

Five key questions to ask in a job interview

Attending a job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience. In order to perform to the best of your abilities, you need to do as much preparation as possible. And that doesn’t just mean practising common interview questions that employers will ask you. It also requires you to think about the questions that you can ask your interviewer.

Remember, this is your opportunity to find out more about what it will be like to work in the company. Asking questions throughout, or at the end when invited to, shows that you’re well organised and are interested in the role. But, it’s important to ask questions that will make you sound intelligent. After all, asking ‘when can I expect a pay rise?’ will just suggest that you’re not that passionate about the role itself.

Below, we outline five key questions that you should consider asking in a job interview.

1. Is this a new position?

This is a good question, because it can uncover some real gems. If it’s a new position, it suggests that the business is growing and evolving. If it’s not, you can then go on to ask what the previous employee went on to do. It may be that they’ve recently had a promotion, which could mean there is room for progression in the company.
On the other hand, they may have left for a particular reason. If this is the case, the interviewer may be a bit coyer with their answer, especially if they didn’t leave on good terms. But, if you’re good at reading people, this should provide you with some useful insights.

2. What do you like most about working for the company?

Understanding why people enjoy working for the company is key to finding out if you’ll also like working there. When doing your research, you can look at the company’s profile on employee review sites, to gain a bit of an idea of what it’s like company to work in.
However, remember it can vary from department to department. Your interviewer is likely to be someone that’s going to be managing you and that understands the role in more detail. Therefore, they’re going to be able to give you a better insight into the best bits of working there.
It also gets the interviewer to think on their feet. Some employers may find this impressive, as you’ve managed to turn the tables around in the interview.

3. How would you describe the company’s culture?

Aside from your actual job role, you need to ensure that the company itself is the right fit for you. After all, if you’re the laidback type but the company has a high-pressured environment, it may not be the best match. This question is similar to the above, so you can always combine these if it feels appropriate to do so.
You’ll want to gain an understanding of how employees are treated, what the working hours are like, the management style used and so on. Consider what you look for in a company and identify any clear matches.

4. What are the biggest challenges of this job?

Again, this should give you some insights into the potential challenges that the role may bring about. Obviously, the employer is going to put a positive spin on it, to make it sound inviting. However, they should be able to highlight a few points for you to think about.
This is also a great opportunity for you to then show how you’d be able to overcome these challenges. For example, if they were to say ‘sometimes one of our clients can be particularly difficult, so we have to work hard to manage the relationship closely’, you could then highlight your experience in dealing with customers and tell them about a time where you’ve won a client round.

5. What qualities does the company value most in its employees?

This is a great question for figuring out how you’d fit into the company, aside from its culture. For example, perhaps they value innovation and employees who can think outside the box. On the other hand, they may value work-life balance, encouraging everyone to work hard throughout the day so they can then leave at 5.30pm to enjoy their evenings.
Again, make sure you have a clear idea of what you value in the workplace as this will make it easier to see if it’s the right match.

In summary

Over all, it’s best to turn up to an interview with a list of questions to ask your employer. It may be that these are covered throughout the interview, especially if the dialogue is more open. Either way, showing the interviewer that you’ve done your research and are interested in finding out more about the company is a great way to make a positive impression.


CV-Library is the UK’s leading independent job board. For more expert advice on careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice and Recruitment Insight pages.

Guest Blog Author: Augusta Henning, PR Manager, CV Library CV Library Career Advice CV Library Recruitment Insight CV Library
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