Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Award-Winning Boss Wants to Give Something Back

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Award-Winning Boss Wants to Give Something Back

Article excerpt

A CHAMPION of North East business has backed a campaign to provide employment opportunities for apprentices, by giving five of the region's young people a step on the career ladder.

Darren Williams, one of the region's most recognised and successful young entrepreneurs, has backed 100 days: The Apprenticeship Challenge by recruiting five apprentices this year, the latest one through the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC).

The campaign, run by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) in conjunction with NECC, The Journal and Evening Gazette, aims to encourage North East businesses to recruit as many apprentices as possible in 100 days.

The campaign has surpassed the previous year's campaign total of 1,355 apprentices by recruiting more than 2,500 since the launch of the campaign at the end of March.

Darren, managing director of multi-award winning e-commerce company Harland Corporation, is himself a former apprentice, having worked towards an IT apprenticeship in 1998.

Darren established his online hair accessories business in 2005 alongside partner Angela Place and has won numerous regional and national awards including a North East Business Award and an Overall Winner Award at the 2010 British Chambers of Commerce Chamber Awards. Having started as an apprentice Darren felt that it was important to him to provide that first step on the career ladder.

He said: "I firmly believe a company needs to strike the right balance between employing experienced skilled staff and young people such as apprentices.

"When we first started, the types of jobs we were recruiting for, such as e-commerce order dispatch, didn't necessarily require a highlyskilled individual. However what we wanted was enthusiastic people who were keen to learn new things.

"Choosing an apprentice was therefore a logical choice and allowed us - and more importantly the apprentices - the chance to grow and learn in a rapid hyper-growth company." Harland currently employs five young apprentices and the business has also seen some of its more experienced staff embrace the apprenticeship programme.

Darren added: "Some of our other staff members have also enrolled on an apprenticeship, despite not being taken on as apprentices, as they realised the value of becoming qualified. …

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