Paragon Customer Communications has launched a nationwide apprenticeship programme, timed to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week, aiming at developing key skills in print, digital marketing, warehouse management, litho print, print finishing and engineering.
The scheme, dubbed Ignite, is being rolled out following a 12-month pilot. Initially deployed at Paragon’s Dagenham site, the five-year programme is designed to create pathways for young, talented individuals to further their education and grow with the business throughout the scheme.
Apprentices will undertake an initial 10-week rotation, working across the business production areas including digital print, goods in, machine enclosing and general admin roles, before embarking on the multi-year programme.
Paragon is also rolling out the programme across its production sites throughout the UK. This has become something of a rarity, according to educational charity The Sutton Trust, which reports that 60% of employers in England have been forced to abandon on-the-job training schemes in the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier this week, a DMA Talent report revealed that marketing industry apprenticeships are facing an uphill struggle to get off the ground because company directors are simply not engaged with the process. However, Paragon already has 60 apprentices participating in various schemes across UK sites, with Ignite becoming the group’s flagship programme, consolidating all on-the-job training into a single scheme.
The programme is part of the group’s “corporate sustainability and people strategy”, which is designed to ensure Paragon the company creates a progressive, supportive and healthy working environment.
Paragon has also become the first strategic partner for The HomeServe Foundation – the not-for-profit arm of home repairs company HomeServe – during National Apprenticeship Week.
As part of the new partnership, the two organisations will work together on a number of initiatives, supporting the foundation’s vision of investment in skills through apprenticeships to aid the UK’s economic recovery.
Paragon now has a number of key frameworks in place to encourage leadership through social values throughout the industry. These include the Young Paragon Network, which encourages talented individuals from all Paragon sites internationally to work collaboratively to tackle business challenges, as well as the Quantum Leadership Group which brings together senior leaders to help integrate business and facilitate positive change.
The company also has an Inclusion Council, with representation from different backgrounds, to manage the diversity process, and attract people within minority and low social mobility groups who might not consider communications as a career and those looking to build one.
Paragon Customer Communications transactional and service divisions’ head of HR Alison Jackson said: “As a business we are extremely pleased to see apprentices are grabbing the opportunities presented to them with both hands, and enjoying considerable success by advancing along their career paths with extra training to get the certifications needed to progress within the last year.
“We strongly believe our partnership with The HomeServe Foundation will allow us to nurture and grow more young talent within the business moving forward, providing us with the tools and resources that will help us through every step of employing a vibrant community of apprentices.”
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