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Jack Dulwich – Securing an Apprenticeship during a lockdown





Over the past few months, we have seen businesses around the world change and adapt their everyday processes, either to stay operational or to support the international efforts to combat this pandemic.


International fashion brand, Burberry & Derbyshire based textiles company, John Smedley have both shifted production to manufacture hospital gowns and scrubs, whilst car manufacturers such as Fiat and Ford are now producing ventilators and face masks for our heroes on the front line. But changing processes isn’t just unique to production. Companies have also had to rethink how they recruit and onboard new staff members.


At EMA, our employers are embracing change by adopting new, innovative recruitment methods, as an alternative to the traditional face to face interview in the board room. We are seeing more requests for apprenticeship candidates to produce short videos to supplement their CV’s, giving employers a further insight to the person behind the resumé; and the response from the applicants has been rather impressive…


Jack’s story


Jack expressed an interest in pursuing a payroll apprenticeship at the beginning of April. Following on from his application, he was soon to receive a call from our recruitment team. It was explained how EMA have taken an innovative approach to support the apprenticeship recruitment needs of businesses during this time of restriction. Keen to find a placement, Jack was soon to embrace the challenge and produce his 1-minute video highlighting- ‘Why he is looking to secure a career in payroll’? & ‘What skill set he feels he can bring to the role’?. The recruitment team fed back to Jack and praised his efforts.


The recruiting employer, Payroll Sorted, were soon to receive the 1-minute video and invited Jack for a remote interview with the hiring manager. From the comfort of their own homes, allowing for a relaxed and natural approach to an introduction from both the employer and candidates perspective. The video interview went really well, and Jack felt he could easily communicate his key skills and strengths that make him the ideal candidate for the role.


Jack was soon to be offered the role and started to work from home with remote support from his new team.


The team at EMA have kept in close contact with the hiring manager at Payroll Sorted since his employment, and we have since received the following feedback:


“Jack has been an invaluable asset to the business and already supported with a variety of key projects, whilst working from home, collaborating with his colleagues and already becoming a vital member of the team! “


The employer is now ready to strengthen the team once more and they have requested to recruit using the same digital approach, to the extent of asking the question ‘’Would it be possible to clone Jack please’’?


In light of everything that is going on at present, it’s great to see that businesses are willing to adapt #embracedigital!


We invited Jack to a Q and A session with us to find out how he found being recruited digitally and his experience of working remotely as an apprentice, since joining the Payroll Sorted Team!


What made you choose the apprenticeship route to start your career in the Payroll sector?


I chose the apprenticeship route for a number of reasons. Firstly, they offer a great system in which you can earn a fair income whilst you learn. Secondly the level of support that is available is outstanding. Apprenticeship schemes pride themselves in offering a high level of support and guidance. Thirdly, it is an excellent start to your professional career. Apprentice schemes offer an opportunity to allow those who lack experience to start their career. Finally, anyone can become an apprentice.


How easy was it for you to produce your 1-minute snapshot video- what went well and what challenges did you face? Any advice you can give to the other candidates that are starting to produce their video?


In my opinion is was pretty simple to produce the 1-minute video. I was asked to answer a number of questions. In order to do this, firstly I researched the business and made notes. I then decided to answer the questions in full sentences, making changes wherever possible in order to make sure it was just right. I then sat downstairs with my mum and practised, making sure I can get it just right. Then it was time to get the camera out and film myself. I can say it took a numerous number of attempts to get it spot on, but this is normal. Advice I would give to others is to just make sure you research and read through the question’s multiple times, thinking of new ideas and adding them in. Another good bit of advice is to practice with someone in your household. This can help perfect your video and relax yourself. Finally, don’t rush but it looks good the quicker you get this back to the employer.


What was it like to conduct your interview remotely- what challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?


It was hard but there are ways to come about this such as do not wing it. This will not help you at all and you will feel more nervous going in to this without knowing anything about the business so make sure you prepare and research. Minimise your distractions, for example switch off your phone. You must be able to focus. Lastly, look professional. Even though you are at home still try and dress up nicely as it shows you have made an effort.


Being interviewed remotely must have been a change for you- how did you build a rapport with the person(s) interviewing you?


It was definitely a change! However, in order to build a rapport with the person interviewing me I made sure my posture was good at all times as it shows professionalism. I made eye contact as it is a sign of confidence and interest. It also shows you’re engaging with them. Finally, I was also genuine and honest. This is the key to building any good connection and relationship.


How do you feel your apprenticeship has developed you personally, in this short space of time?


I feel like this apprenticeship has already developed me as I am working with experienced staff members who are helping me build up my knowledge, skills and responsibility. It has also helped me gain valuable experience, understanding how a business works.


Starting employment whilst working remotely must present its challenges, how have you overcome these?


It definitely has presented us with challenges. Furthermore, we overcome these by communicating through an app called ‘Slack’ and we also have a handset phone in which we all have extension numbers for us to ring if we have any problems. It’s not the same as in person but we are making it work for now.


Being unfamiliar with this new way of sourcing employment through utilising technology must have been a change for you, how well do you feel EMA assisted you in this transition, for you to secure your apprenticeship role?


EMA played a massive part in helping me secure my apprenticeship role, especially Matt Edwards. Feeding me useful advice for my interview etc- ringing me before and after to see how it went. I really do appreciate everything EMA have done for me and continue to do, they couldn’t have done anything else in order to assist me. They have been brilliant, and they continue to get better and better. I wouldn’t be in this apprenticeship if it wasn’t for them.