The UK Government has been hugely supportive of businesses which take on apprentices, providing dedicated websites with helpful information and plenty of support. The aim has been to expand the scope of apprenticeships beyond the traditional industrial and engineering sectors to include the service sector. The PR potential of apprentices is often overlooked and not considered to be a valuable news story for your business.
Apprentices as ambassadors
Over the last two years SRF has been advising our client, Your Service Centre (YSC), the Information Desk at Gatwick Airport, on how to tell the story of their apprentice journey. From choosing and announcing the appropriate local training provider, explaining the recruitment and ongoing roles of the apprentices and ensuring that the business’s stakeholders are kept informed of this initiative.
From the start of their contracts, YSC’s apprentices were front and centre of the business. They were exposed to the customers’ enquiries directly, involved in promotional activities around the airport and encouraged to engage with other airport businesses. At the same time, they were introduced to the corporate perspective on social media and given the opportunity to utilise their skills on Twitter and Facebook.
Adding to social media
Selfies, gifs and videos were used to tell their story of a trip to London, creating an internal video designed to educate other staff about the attractions of London for inbound passengers. It was this type of activity which helped Your Service Centre Gatwick win Newcomer SME of the Year at the South East National Apprenticeship Awards 2016 regional ceremony last October.
As Regional SME winner in the Newcomer category, YSC could demonstrate that their strategy to attract and nurture apprentices for specialist services in a very challenging airport environment was working and that it was worthy to be showcased at a national level. It provided a chance to tell the story of how the apprentices have a real impact on business performance, delivering skilled assistance to passengers in need on a daily basis and providing a meaningful contribution to the overall well-being of the Gatwick Airport customer.
This success was enhanced in early 2017 with the announcement that Your Service Centre is one of the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers in the UK. As the only airport-related business and as one of only two travel companies on this prestigious list, YSC now has government standard credentials and national recognition for their apprenticeship story.