Building Supplies Online tackles skills shortage

Building Supplies Online tackles skills shortage

Building Supplies Online has announced that Jack Harper has joined the company as its first digital marketing apprentice.

The initiative has been designed to enable the company to develop and augment the pool of specialist ecommerce skills that are essential to its future, while supporting young job seekers in its local community.

Building Supplies Online operates entirely online and uses its ecommerce expertise to fine-tune its offering, in response to seasonal trends and changing customer requirements.

Since its inception in 2010, Building Supplies Online has grown incrementally and its recent strategic partnership with Cairngorm Capital will see the company expand significantly over the next five years.

Access to good digital marketing and e-commerce skills is central to its success but too often the skills are in short supply locally.

Building Supplies Online has, therefore, been looking at how best to gain the skills and talent that it requires, in a way that aligns with its values and ethos. Exploring the Government’s national apprenticeship scheme, the company realised that it could provide the digital marketing expertise, mentoring and learning support demanded by the scheme, to meet its talent objectives and also offer opportunities to young job seekers in the local community.

Louise Austin, Building Supplies Online’s Head of Marketing, explained: “We are taking action to address the digital skills gap creatively and proactively, as the skills that drive our business are very specific and not easily sourced. This scheme allows us to develop the specialist sector and ecommerce skills that are so important to our business, to future proof our talent pool and to do so in a way that aligns with our values. It is important to us as a company to be able to offer local young people credible employment opportunities and help them to develop their talents. We consider this initiative a great investment for our collective futures.”

Defying the stereotype that apprenticeships are limited to younger applicants seeking their first job, Jack (20) chose to develop his career via this route, following A-Levels and a short spell in the catering industry.

He explained: “Although I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I knew that university wasn’t the right path for me. IT and digital skills are increasingly core to the working world and something that I find interesting. My challenge was to find the right employer to train with – as an older applicant it was harder to find schemes willing to train me because employers receive less financial support for those over 18. But Building Supplies Online was specifically looking for motivated, well-qualified applicants, which when combined with their company values and culture, has been transformational!”

Jack will spend two years on the scheme learning all aspects of ecommerce and digital marketing, both on the job with Building Supplies Online and via formal courses at Leamington Spa College. At the end of the period, he will have achieved accreditations and qualifications from globally recognised bodies including the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Google.

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