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Apprentices - Creating MultiValue MultiColoured Unicorns

Published about 2 years ago by Elkie Holland

At the Rocket MultiValue Business Forum 2019, I was asked to introduce and present on a project I have been working on (for quite some time) and to report on progress and ask for help. 

For anyone reading this blog who doesn't know me, I am an IT Recruiter who has specialised in the MultiValue market of IT for the last 33 years. LinkedIn profile click here

The internal name for the project I have been working on is:  "Creating MultiValue MultiColoured Unicorns". This is known as "Unicorn Project" for short. 

Here is an outline of the Presentation / Discussion that ensued:

The Issue and The Concept 

To address the MultiValue skills and demographic gaps because it has an impact on business.

A note here - Prospectus IT Recruitment IS NOT looking to diversify into finding apprentices.  

How – History - Now

The Unicorn Project is already 2 1/2 years in. 

Venture 1:  Set up as an Accredited Provider

The first part was looking into all the government rules and regulations including Ofsted etc and to set up a full Accredited Provider solely for this purpose.  This extensive research was incredibly educational as I started from knowledge base of Ground Zero !   

After a large investment into this avenue, it was decided that the amount of investment required far exceeded any availability of funds and time.

Venture 2:  Build a dynamic partnership

This is to build a dynamic partnership with existing government approved training provider and use their expertise and framework.  This provider will have a proven track record and provide a better solution and a faster route to market and be more sustainable.  This would bring: 

  • Instant National Coverage
  • Industry Standard IT qualifications
  • MultiValue Training tool.

What is an Apprenticeship

For clarity - an Apprenticeship is a structured training programme which combines study and work.  It leads to qualifications like HNC, HND, Foundation and can even lead to an Honours Degree.  Apprenticeships can last from 1 - 5 years.  Originally, they were for 16-24 year olds but the age restriction has been lifted so someone seeking to change career can now also apply to do an Apprenticeship.   Entry levels for Apprentices vary.  You can take Apprentices at Post A Level or Post Graduate level.


To pay you can use your Apprenticeship Levy money.  If you are a small company and do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy, it will cost just 5%-10% only.  Alternatively, a smaller company can approach a larger company for a "Levy Transfer" and use those funds. 

What does a Training Provider Do ?

  • Induction Programme
  • Detailed Training Plan 
  • Regular Progress Reviews 
  • Mentoring and Support
  • Ofsted registered
  • Government Approved

All of the above share / remove some of the management and administrative burden of having an Apprentice (junior) onboard.  It all helps the Apprentice stay motivated and on track.

Why Young Bloods (and others) choose Apprenticeships

  1. 1 Earn while you learn
    1. £400 pcm (minimum wage)
    2.  No Student loans
    3.  No tuition fees
    4.  No debt
  2. Gain internationally recognised qualification
  3. Gain real work experience
  4. Student discounts
  5. Job and Career progression

Benefits to You the Company

  • The National Apprenticeship Service states:
    • 92% believe leads to more motivated and satisfied workforce.
    • 50% significant increase employee retention
  • Delegate smaller basic tasks to Apprentice to free up experienced staff whilst also helping build the Apprentice confidence and sense of worth
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • British Chamber of Commerce states 75% helped cut recruitment costs.

Where are We

  1. Providers identified and shortlisted. Initial approaches made with positive reception.
  2. Hunting, hammering and refining content for MultiValue BoltOn
  3. Prospectus IT Recruitment committed to Apprentices and have sponsored "Thames Valley Apprentice of the Year Award"

Help so far

I am pleased to say and very thankful for the help that I've had so far.  I have had some great encouragement and help from a number of people and companies including Rocket Software.  As everyone knows, I am not technical so I cannot do this alone !

How can you help ? What do we need ?

  • We need to find and finalise content (the hardest part)
  • We need to turn the content into e-learning


  • We need YOU to take on Apprentice and breathe life into the future generation of MultiValue Developers.


Any help you feel you can give, please get in touch with me - Elkie Holland at or 01932 269 563

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