Guest writer Jo Haigh gives Startacus an honest outlook on taking on two apprentices and surprises herself with the results...
"I have recently taken on two young apprentices as part of a Government funded scheme to allow them to complete their NVQ qualifications whilst gaining valuable “on the job” experience.
I admit freely that, in the first place, I did not take these people on as any kind of mission nor was it an altruistic exercise. I am honest it was in part the attraction of cheap labour and I honestly expected it to be a disaster. My husband and partner both said what on earth was I doing putting my business at risk as they saw it and they may well have been proved correct.
They weren't and they freely acknowledge that what these people have done is brought a fresh perspective to the company. What is very, very interesting is the amazing impact these fabulous young people have had on me, my business and my senior team.
Their IT and social media skills are second to none. Brought up on it as they have been, once engaged they have millions of quirky ideas and importantly the skills to make things happen.
They have revolutionised my presentations, and my presence on the web is greater than ever before. Tweeting, not something I had ever considered appropriate, is now part of our business development process and we have 100s of followers and getting new and interesting leads as a result.
I have unashamedly shouted about my protégées, creating fabulous PR, which has in turn impressed clients and prospective clients alike.
I took them to my last book launch in London at a posh city club, bear in mind neither had ever been further than Yorkshire, this was a pretty big deal for them, but I heard not once but a number of times, “Wow Jo they are a breath of fresh air your apprentices, so normal, so natural” and also very nicely, “so proud to be here”.
And surprise, surprise for me this relationship, that has enabled me to nurture these people, has been probably the most rewarding thing I have ever achieved in my career, which has seen its own share of high-lights as a best-selling author and business woman of the year etc.
This whole process has taken a sometimes jaded business woman, working in a sceptical corporate environment and given her a new lease of life, this doesn't even begin to explain it.
They say the more you give the more you get back. I would say I have got back 1000 times more and this is not just the feel good factor, it's a real business improvement.