Rocket fuelled Apprenticeships Success

As National Apprenticeship Week launches a Northants business leader has called for fellow employers to take action to proactively provide places for apprentices as numbers dramatically drop.

To tackle declining apprenticeships, estimated to be down by 30% following the introduction of the Government’s controversial apprenticeship levy scheme in 2017, Neil Thompson, founder of Rocket Creative, is urging companies to act now to buck the trend for falling figures.

His call for apprenticeships action comes as it was reported there had been a decline in the number of apprenticeship starts. Statistics from the Department for Education revealed there were 114,400 apprenticeship starts in England in the three months from August to October 2017, 49,800 fewer than a year earlier.

He said: “The drop in apprenticeship starts statistics is worrying for all businesses who should be much more proactive providing places for tomorrow’s workforce.

Since Rocket was first founded 17 years ago we’ve successfully launched the creative careers of several apprentices.

Neil Thompson, founder of Rocket Creative
Neil Thompson, founder of Rocket Creative

“We have been long-term active advocates of apprenticeships and always offered excellent opportunities at our agency, which specialises in marketing, design and PR services.”

The managing director of the successful Northampton based business said more companies needed to recognise the potential in school leavers by providing more mentoring and support by offering more apprenticeship placements across all industries.

He added: “Apprenticeships benefit business too and give employees the opportunity to learn and earn. Our Rocket apprentices have flourished and acquired a vast range of skills and knowledge under our support and guidance.

“Employers of all businesses, large and small, need to play their part and recognise the value apprentices bring to the workplace. More must also be done to help educate employers about the repercussions of the latest levy on apprenticeships, which can cause confusion in the commercial community.

“Here at Rocket we have a number of apprenticeship success stories, which we are proud of. Companies must make more opportunities available to help close the skills set gap within a range of industries.”

Rocket’s Amba Smith first joined the company several years ago as an apprentice.

She said: “Starting my career as an apprentice in graphic design at Rocket was a fantastic opportunity for me. The company were offering apprenticeships at a time when there were very few opportunities and before apprenticeships became a more popular choice for school leavers.

“I have learnt so many skills and have also been able to study for a degree at university while still working at Rocket. They help you realise and achieve your full potential.”

Fellow former apprentice Michael Foster is the latest Rocket team member to successfully complete his apprenticeship and he too has progressed having been recently appointed as a junior graphic designer.

The former Northampton School for Boys pupil said: “After completing my A-levels a lot of my friends automatically went to university however I didn’t want to take that route. I wanted to earn and learn so I was delighted to discover that Rocket offers apprenticeship opportunities.

“I think it is vital companies recognise the value of apprenticeships and here at Rocket I have developed numerous skills while working on projects for clients in the UK and worldwide.”