Julia Alija @ X4 Group

Julia Alija @ X4 Group

 

As part of our case study series, we’ve been heading out to the businesses we work with and meeting the awesome apprentices and employers to talk about their journey with LDN Apprenticeships!

Our latest case study took us to specialist recruitment company X4 Group in the heart of London. We caught up with LDN Apprenticeships alumni Julia Alija, who is now a full-time member of the Finance team at X4 Group having finished her apprenticeship with us!

 

We’ve always had a fantastic relationship with X4 Group. Alongside Julia – we’ve placed apprentices within a variety of departments, from the IT Department to the Sales floor. So it was a great opportunity to get the thoughts of a company that has benefited so much from recruiting LDN Apprentices.

We were also able to catch up with Julia’s line-manager and Subsidiary Management Accountant – Claire McDonagh, who gave us an insight into the apprenticeship journey from an employer’s point of view. From the on-boarding process, right up to hiring Julia full-time after graduating from LDN Apprenticeships.

Why an apprenticeship?

First of all, Julia talked to us about her decision to become an apprentice.  Why did she choose her route into the finance industry by doing an apprenticeship instead of heading to university? 

“I knew I definitely wanted to go into finance and university wasn’t really for me,” said Julia. 

 

“I definitely wanted the experience and the practicality of working and learning at the same time. So an apprenticeship seemed perfect!

 

“University was a consideration at one point. But after seeking advice from those within the finance industry, I thought an apprenticeship was definitely the right route for me.”

Having decided to get into the finance industry via an apprenticeship, we were able to help connect Julia with the fantastic team at X4 through our Career Kickstarter events.

Claire was able to meet and interview Julia for the role after seeing how well LDN Apprentice, Isaac Newton, was doing within the IT Department at X4.

“After the previous success we had with Isaac in the IT Department, we decided to recruit a Finance Apprentice, said Claire.

 

“We are always looking for opportunities to expand the team and help young people start with us, learn the trade and work their way up within the company.”

Starting at X4 Group.

The finance department is crucial to any business. It involves not only a strict attention to detail, but a meticulous on-boarding process. Being able to learn the ropes quickly is imperative to hitting the ground running and being a success within the role.

So how did Julia get up to scratch within the finance department at X4?

“I already had a bit of experience studying finance so felt quietly confident! 

 

“Most of all I was just I was extremely keen and motivated to learn and succeed within the role. 

 

“I was given a number of jobs and important tasks early within the role. I had to learn quickly! Allocating payments, and chasing clients and invoices meant I had to be prepared from the first day!

Having now graduated from LDN Apprenticeships and since being hired full-time, what was it that Julia did within her role that made her 13 months as an apprentice at X4 such a success?

“Julia has been a really good asset to the team here at X4. She is always taking on new roles and looking to help in other areas of the team. Whilst this helps us as a business, it also helps her to develop her knowledge of finance as well.

 

“She has been really helpful in brining down debtors and with reconciliations as well. That’s quite difficult for someone to pick up without previous experience. On top of her main tasks, she has taken so much on board and is now such a crucial part of the team.

Receiving support throughout.

Whilst Julia managed to run with the opportunity that was given to her, she highlighted the support she received along the way from Claire and the team at X4. As well as the support from the office, Julia also mentioned her Learning and Development Specialist at LDN as a big part her success and completing the course.

 “I’ve had so much support from not just Claire, but the whole team here at X4. They’re so motivated which in turn, drives me on within the role.

 

“The workshops and my LDS at LDN Apprenticeships have been so helpful as well.

 

Keeping me on track in completing my apprenticeship and supporting me during the busy last few months!”

Growing within the role.

Over the course of Julia’s 13 month apprenticeship, Claire was not only able to support and guide Julia throughout, but she was in a fantastic position to see her improve and grow within the role.

 “I can see a lot more confidence in Julia since she started. She can show quite clearly in the space of a year how well she’s developed in her role. 

 

“Her understanding now of how the finance department functions within a big business is just brilliant to see. She’s such a strong character and helps us within the team massively.”

Advice to those considering an apprenticeship.

As a full-time member of the X4 team, Julia has benefited massively from her apprenticeship. She has now come out of it starting her career with one of the biggest recruitment companies in London!

She will know more than anyone the benefits of becoming an apprentice. So what advice would she give to someone who is thinking of doing an apprenticeship?

“I’d say you have to be really motivated, enthusiastic and keen to learn. You also need to be prepared to wake up early! But definitely if you’re that person and you want to learn and work at the same time, an apprenticeship is for you!”

Thinking of hiring an apprentice?

One the other side, as Julia’s line-manager, Claire has now been able to bring in a fully-trained and loyal employee to her team. Having been in a position to introduce and train Julia up to her own, and the companies, values and standards, what would Claire’s advice be to employers looking to recruit an apprentice?

I’d definitely say it’s an amazing thing to do. I think we’d be really keen as a business to keep on hiring apprentices. It shows how successful it is as a scheme. As well as strengthening our team & bringing in more younger faces to the business, it’s just such a good thing to do.

Thank you to Claire, Julia and everyone at X4 Group for allowing us to come in and talk to them for the day! It’s always inspiring to see apprentices succeed and go on to gain a full-time role within the company they’re working for.

If you’re thinking of HIRING an apprentice with us, click on the link below to discover more!

If you’re thinking of BECOMING an apprentice, click on the link below and find out how!

Reuben Bell @ Clarion Housing Group

Reuben Bell @ Clarion Housing Group

With various offices around London, we went to see Reuben Bell in Clarion’s South London office, where Reuben is currently on our Future LDN programme as a Data Analyst apprentice at the largest housing association in the United Kingdom.

There are a number of fantastic apprenticeship stories around all of the awesome businesses we work with at LDN Apprenticeships and having built up a great relationship with Clarion Housing Group – who currently have three LDN Apprentices on their books – it was the perfect place to head for our case study series!

So we popped into their office to talk to Reuben about his decision behind starting an apprenticeship and what’s he’s currently learning within his role.

We also caught up with his line manager Rob Cheyne – the Finance, Compliance and Audit Coordinator at Clarion – to get his thoughts on hiring apprentices and how recruiting an apprentice like Reuben can benefit the business and his team.

Reuben started by telling us why he chose to do an apprenticeship and his decision to leave University after realising he wasn’t enjoying the course he had enrolled in.

“I wanted work experience and since this was my first job, I wanted something that would give me the necessary experience and confidence to flourish in this sort of environment.” Said Reuben.

 

“Within the first year of university, I realised I didn’t have much of an interest in what I was doing. I didn’t feel like I had a sense of direction and it wasn’t benefiting me. It was very expensive, so I decided to leave university and try a different path into work.”

After making the big decision to leave university and kickstart his career with an apprenticeship, it was now time to get a job!

Rob attended a Career Kickstarter day at our Lansdowne offices to recruit someone to work closely with him and help out with tasks and jobs as well as relieve some of the workload from his shoulders.

“We got to see a whole group of apprentices and what attracted me initially to Reuben was his knowledge and his attention to detail.” Said Rob

 

“He also seemed very level headed for someone at his age. This stood out for me massively when recruiting Reuben.”

After going for a work trial with Rob and Clarion, Reuben received the news he had been hoping for and got the job offer, meaning he could now start his apprenticeship journey with us!

Working in an office was going to be a completely new environment for Reuben and something he’d need to grasp relatively quickly. He explained what it was like learning the ropes when he started within his new role.

“It was a combination of ease and a bit of a challenge!

 

There were things I picked up quite quickly and enjoyed. It was mainly things like office etiquette which came as a bit of a shock.

 

Managing my time was especially difficult at first. It was very different to what I was used to but everyone was so helpful and welcoming, so the bedding in process was a really nice experience for me.”

Rob also enjoyed helping Ruben adapt at Clarion and got a lot out of helping someone at such a young age acclimatise into the workplace.

“The really enjoyable thing about having an apprentice in your team is helping them adapt into their first taste of work. 

 

Reuben has been great at learning new skills and taking things on board and it’s been great seeing somebody learn from small errors and improve their confidence over a short space of time.

 

To see him grow and mature in confidence is so rewarding.”

In conjunction with his role at Clarion, Reuben is also learning skills and gaining qualifications at our Lansdowne Training Hub with his Learning Development Specialist, Dharam.

The Digital Project Admin pathway teaches apprentices valuable skills that can be transferred over into the workplace. Allowing Reuben to gain the knowledge and confidence needed to help Rob and the team at Clarion.

“The admin pathway has allowed me to develop my project planning skills and plan assignments around my working life.

 

Understanding how much time I’ll need to complete certain things and how that will effect the end goal in a specific space of time has been really helpful.

 

My biggest achievement since starting my apprenticeship has not only seen me boost in confidence, but also my organisational skills. I certainly feel much more comfortable in a professional environment.”

With Reuben now almost one year into his role at Clarion, it’s fair to say recruiting him into the data analyst role has been a huge success!

He is now able to save Rob and his team an incredible amount of time and lift the workload off of more senior members of staff.

“Reuben has saved us heaps of time!

 

We receive a lot of queries on a daily basis and he is always on top of addressing those, taking a lot of work out of my hands.

 

That’s helped me tremendously because I can now focus on more strategic issues like building and developing relationships.

 

Instead of looking down and rushing around trying to deal with data enquiries, I’m able to look up and support my programme lead.”

Having had Reuben by his side and helping for the past year, Rob shared some advice for other businesses who may be looking to hire and introduce an apprentice into their team.

“I would definitely recommend hiring an apprentice.

 

It’s been a great experience and it’s a really good opportunity to give somebody their first taste in work.

 

It has been interesting meeting other employers that have said to me they found apprentices have actually been more beneficial than their permanent staff!

 

I would definitely go back and recruit apprentices.”

For Reuben, the experience of learning and developing within the workplace has already seen his skill set and confidence increase so much in such a short space of time.

So what advice would he give to someone who’s thinking of taking up an apprenticeship?

“I’d definitely say do it!

 

“It’s not easy all the time, but it’s certainly worth the experience. Your confidence will just grow because you’ll always be challenging yourself and doing new things.

 

You can only really gain from an apprenticeship!”

Reuben and his team at Clarion Housing Group are a brilliant example of how apprenticeships work for businesses and for young people. Highlighting the need to futureproof their business with young talent and inject new ideas into the company.

Congratulations to Reuben on his continued success and thank you to Rob for all of the continued support he has given to him.

If you’re thinking of HIRING an apprentice with us, click on the link below to discover more!

If you’re thinking of BECOMING an apprentice, click on the link below and find out how!