Ahead of the 2022 Apprentice Futures event, we interviewed Paragon the UK’s largest direct mail producer, who work with some of the country’s biggest brands, to find out why apprenticeships are important to their business.
Why are apprenticeships important to your business?
Apprenticeships are really important to Paragon. They help individuals to grow while developing our business with the new and exciting ideas they can bring.
Everyone here has a voice and they’re encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas in the right way. Apprentices are no different. We are always looking for fresh ideas to help us address the challenges we face as a business.
What sort of apprenticeship roles do you have in your business?
We have a variety of different apprenticeship roles throughout the business which includes, but are not limited to, the following qualifications:
Associate Project Manager – L4
Business Administrator – L3
Customer Service Specialist – L3
Customer Service Practitioner – L2
Creative Digital Design Professional – L6
Digital Marketing – L3
Facilities Management Supervisor – L3
Maintenance & Operations engineering technician - L3
Operations / Departmental Manager – L5
Team Leader – L3
Business Analyst – L4
Cyber Security Technologist – L4
Data Analyst – L4
Data Technician – L3
Infrastructure Technician – L4
Software Developer – L4
Software Development Technician – L3
Software Tester – L4
Print Technician L3.
Do you regularly recruit apprenticeships into your business, and why?
We have always looked to bring young people into the business. That’s historically how the communications industry has developed the next generation of talent, and it’s something we have continued to offer across our sites.
In 2020 we launched our Paragon Ignite Apprenticeship programme. This initiative provided some company-wide structure to how we provide people with an opportunity to start their careers with us and learn key skills in a variety of our production areas.
The Paragon Ignite programme starts with a 10-week rotation around the chosen site, with successful candidates being offered permanent employment, further opportunities to develop their skills, and the chance to study towards an Apprenticeship qualification.
Since then and despite a global pandemic, we have continued to offer people with the right skills an opportunity to join our business and become the best that they can be.
What difference do apprenticeships make to the sector that you work in?
Apprentices make a massive difference in our sector. Historically the communications world has never been the most glamorous of trades, but apprenticeships offer people a credible route to develop a career regardless of their qualifications or background.
Where do apprenticeships fit into the future of your business and your sector?
Paragon has grown substantially over the past 10 years through several mergers and acquisitions. This growth has helped us to offer a wider variety of opportunities for people who want to work hard and develop their careers. We’re a business that doesn’t stand still, and we want to keep expanding the range of products and services we deliver for our clients, so finding and developing that next generation of talent is incredibly important for us.
This starts with our Ignite programme and a hands-on approach to what we do. From there, the sky truly is the limit.
What attributes do you look for in candidates that apply to your apprenticeship roles?
Our approach to apprentices is a very simple one. Does the person have the right attitude? Without that they may struggle to be successful, not just at Paragon, but wherever they go.
If they do show us the right attitude, and they’re willing to learn, we will invest time in them and show them exactly what they need to do to achieve their goals and take the next step in their career.