Apprenticeships have long been associated with learning trades such as plumbing or bricklaying. But there are also apprenticeships available in more unexpected areas such as digital marketing, social media, IT, and creative media. For start-up companies in the digital market, apprentices are proving to be vital to expanding business.

One man who has experienced the benefits of using apprentices first-hand, is Simon Schnieders, founder of company Blue Array, which helps businesses improve their online presence. Schnieders believes that more businesses need to get on board with apprenticeship schemes. He feels that apprenticeships are particularly helpful for start-up businesses, explaining that: “The flexibility they have around training and willingness to learn has been unparalleled in my experience.”

Schnieders has also found that a lack of previous experience in the industry can even be beneficial, admitting: “The rawness of an apprentice can be a real asset, particularly their ability to absorb information with little or no preconceptions or expectations.”It can be unaffordable for start-up companies to hire existing talent, but an apprenticeship is a far more cost-effective way to bridge the gap says Schnieders. By investing in training, the end result of the apprentice’s output is greater value for money.

After contacting the National Apprenticeship Scheme, Schnieders was put in touch with a local apprentice provider ‘3AAA’, who also service London, where he advertised (free of charge) and discovered his first apprentice Tom Pool. Pool was unsure what step to take after completing his level 3 diploma in engineering explaining: “I wasn’t sure university life was for me and was also not sure about taking out a student loan, as I really didn’t want to be in debt.”I was looking at Level 4 qualifications at Reading college, but I didn’t feel that I would enjoy being in a classroom for another 2 years. I was considering getting a job, but there is no academic progression within that, and I really love learning new things.”

Pool settled on an apprenticeship when he realised it offered him the perfect opportunity to obtain a recognised qualification and be paid at the same time. He was particularly keen to find a digital role due to his enjoyment of computers and the diversity that the work offers. “The variety of different things I do every day keeps it exciting and leaves me hungry to learn more.

I am actually looking forward to coming into work each day, to see what different methods I will be learning. And because you are learning new things every day, there is a definite feeling of progression, as you learn more and more about the industry,” said Pool.

To find out more about hiring or becoming an apprentice in visit 3AAA or head to the government website.