BES (Business Enterprise Support) helps people to start their own business and return to employment through workshops and 1-2-1 coaching. Needing additional support, they took on apprentice Francesca Whetnall, and they haven’t looked back.
Francesca left school with GCSEs and went onto study A-Levels, but they didn’t suit her. After being diagnosed with Asperger’s at 22, she found a new drive to push herself into volunteering to gain experience.
Gemma Hammond, Contracts Manager at BES, said: “She came to BES and the Silverdale Library as a volunteer doing 30 mins a week. As Francesca started to do regular volunteer work we decided we couldn’t lose her. At this point, we looked into an apprenticeship role with PM Training. We were pleased to be able to offer Francesca a Business Administration Level 2 apprenticeship.”
Francesca quickly learned that apprenticeships weren’t as she perceived; low money and jobs that people didn’t want to do. She says: “It’s not like that at all, you are treated like a member of the team and feel like you are doing something worthwhile.”
As a small employer of apprentices, BES had to quickly understand what was involved in taking on an apprentice. Gemma continues: “Fran is the first apprentice we’ve taken on. The support we’ve had from PM Training has been great. She has instantly become an integral part of our team. She fills gaps where we didn’t know we had gaps and is a real team player.”
The benefits of earning and learning as an apprentice has enabled Francesca to do new things. She said: “Working full time provided me with money, allowing me to socialise with friends and do the things that I wanted to do. I’d recommend PM Training to my friends as they offer great support. My assessor Lisa is nice and always on hand to give advice. If you are a school leaver and you think you want to do it, go and try it. If it’s not for you it’s not for you. There are always other things.”
Business Enterprise Support hasn’t looked back. Gemma adds: “We’ve had nothing but success since taking on Francesca, she is a complete asset to our company.”