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Apprentice case study - Steve Foulger

Becoming an apprentice ambassador

When I joined allpay as Head of HR, I was aware of what an apprenticeship was and that as a business we had a good record in this space, winning multiple awards previously. Although I have a lot of experience and I have been involved in all sorts of projects and business approaches, apprenticeships were new to me.

When I finished school I was expected to go to University and the alternatives weren’t really clear to me.

Once I’d finished studying I assumed a graduate role was the next step. My father was a post man, as I was growing up and my mother was a cleaner. I had boundless respect for both and the opportunities they gave me. My dad gave me some advice as I entered the working world. Start at the bottom.

The advice felt like a waste of a degree but explained to me that to manage people and understand them, you need to know what their issues are.

It turned out to be great advice. Having done customer service at Sainsbury’s, booking holiday over the phone for Thomson’s and working as a cashier for Birmingham Midshires, my early career gave me some great insights on the shop floor. I never forgot this start or this advice.

Fast forward to allpay, and I was desperate to understand more about the apprentices, their studies and what value this added to the business. During this period I met some fantastic people, doing a great job who either were apprentices or had been.

The model needed reshaping, as it wasn’t promoted as well as it could be internally or externally and take advantage of the support that was available.

By the time we had revamped it, it felt like something we could be even more proud of. During this period Lee Snead won the Diamond award due to his time as an apprentice and his time developing apprentices at allpay.

We decided to apply for ambassador status and since then have continued to expand our own programme internally and shared our best practices externally.

This led to us applying for the 2014 award for West Midlands ‘Apprentice Champion,’ which we promptly won. For the last three years we have celebrated National Apprenticeship Week and we have developed this year on year.

Receiving a letter from the Deputy Prime Minister thanking us for our work as ambassadors was a great highlight, as was the day we put balloons on the back of the chairs for all of our current and former apprentices. The sea of balloons that could be seen no matter which building you were in, was testament to the diverse nature of our programme and the work we had done over a significant period of time. I look forward to developing our own model even further, and continuously improving the support we provide to others.

How to apply

If you’re interested in becoming an allpay apprentice, we want to hear from you! You can view our current apprenticeship vacancies here.

Alternatively if there are no vacancies that suit you at this time, please register your details and send us your CV.

If a suitable vacancy does arise we can then contact you quickly and easily.