We currently have TWO fantastic software developers in Adrian Nica and Eemaan Beardon working alongside FanFinders CEO Alec Dobbie at their Shoreditch offices in East London.
What makes this case study particularly special is Eemaan was the winner of our Apprentice of the Year for 2017! So it was great to catch up with her and get her thoughts on not only winning Apprentice of the Year, but her experience in currently doing her Level 4 Software Development apprenticeship and how it differs from the Level 3 program she completed last year.
We started by talking to Eemaan and Adrian about the very beginning of their journey with us, if they were considering a different career pathway and why they eventually decided to do an apprenticeship.
I wanted to get more experience said Eemaan. I felt combining both experience with work would grow my skills better in the long run than just studying independently.
Adrian agreed. The opportunity to earn money whilst learning really appealed to me. University would be three years and with the knowledge I already had, a software development apprenticeship felt best for me!
Both having made the decision to do an apprenticeship, the next part was getting a job!
Having hired Eemaan in 2016 and Adrian the year after, Alec has had plenty of experience in hiring apprentices and felt that both stood out as the perfect new recruits for FanFinders!
We were looking for a mix of talent to come and work with us and help fill a couple of roles. LDN Apprenticeships helped us massively with this and we hired two really good apprentices from the Tech LDN program.
The positions we were looking to fill weren’t senior roles but at the same time, weren’t quite junior, so we needed to make sure they were strong candidates willing to learn within the role and that’s exactly what we found.
Having both secured positions at FanFinders, they now had to get up to scratch and really begin their roles on the front foot. Eemaan recalled what it was like learning the ropes during her first few months within the role.
It was a really life changing experience and I gained a lot of confidence. I had so much support from the tutors and the people that worked around me. Everyone helped me develop my skills and areas to improve.
Everyone was so supportive. We all got on well with each other and it was a really nice environment to develop and learn in.
Alec also gave us an insight into what it was like getting a software development apprentice up to scratch and if he changed his approach when he recruited Alec a year later.
I don’t think we’d have got to Adrian if it hadn’t have been for Eemaan. This gave us faith in the process and system along with knowing the training at LDN Apprenticeships was paying dividends within our workplace.
We spend a lot of time within the first few months making sure they are learning what we need them to and put them on a structured program.
We started with very simple tasks before moving them onto more complex things going forward and it’s worked well. For example, Adrian has built a client portal that’s going to be a large piece of the business going forward!
The client portal Adrian built is just one of the many personal achievements for him since starting at FanFinders just under a year ago.
Adrian also feels his development and understanding of the FanFinders workplace and the business itself has been a big part of his development within his role.
Gaining experience in marketing and experience within the business world has been a huge achievement for me.
I’ve learnt so much and gained so much knowledge. My line manager here has 25 years of experience and he knows how the company works more than anyone here!
For someone young like myself looking to get into a software development role, I also feel I’ve learnt how to make really good software, not just plain code.
For Eemaan, who is now doing her level 4 software development apprenticeship, it was interesting to hear what the major differences were from doing a level 3 qualification and her decision to go on to a level 4 qualification.
The biggest difference was definitely the intensity in work. So if you like a challenge it’s definitely something to look into!
The qualifications are so valuable though because you become MTA qualified and instead of having to pay for qualifications at university, here you’re supported by the company, which is ten times better for me!
Having hired two web and software development apprentices, what advice would Alec give to other business thinking of hiring an apprentice?
Absolutely do hire an apprentice and go forward with it.
It’s been a really rewarding and beneficial experience and for us, there’s no negatives from where I am. It’s cost-effective and you can see you’re helping young people move forward.
At the same time, it’s helping us as a business as well!
Alec’s positive experience in hiring Eemaan and Adrian was echoed by both apprentices themselves and their journey so far has given them both the opportunity to kickstart a career they’re passionate about at FanFinders.
So what advice would they give to someone who’s thinking of doing an apprenticeship?
You’re learning in the job and getting paid for it said
Adrian. You’re not just learning in theory and it’s a completely different path to university.
You learn and accumulate a lot more skills that you would if you just went to university Eemaan continued.
Being a part of a workplace, you’ve got other teams and departments you can branch into and develop within all areas of a business.
For those thinking of doing an apprenticeship, I’d say definitely go for it!
Alec and his team at FanFinders 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 Eemaan and Adrian on their continued success and thank you to Alec for all of the continued support he has given to both apprentices.
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!