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Our work with Consultation Institute

Consultation Institute gives Apprenticeship scheme full approval

The Consultation Institute is a not-for-profit organisation that works with a wide range of public and private sector organisations to promote the highest standards of public, stakeholder and employee consultation.  There are two parts of the business, consultancy and specialist training, and just a few of the company’s recent clients include: London Fire Brigade, Cheshire Fire and Rescue, NHS NW London, Transport for London, Ashford Borough Council and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.

Recruitment solution

The business has been growing from strength to strength, but, with growth, came the need for more support, particularly in the area of administration.  Head of Operations, Karen Fourie, said:  “We had employed apprentices in the past and it had worked well for us, so I contacted Bedford College to see if they could help us again.”  Karen explained that they had particularly liked the idea of bringing someone young and fresh into the business and training them from scratch in the specific ways the Consultation Institute works. Employing a Business Administration apprentice, supported by the College, seemed a great solution.

Exceeding expectations

Now in post for more than six months, apprentice Catherine works on the training side of the business, and deals with all the organisation’s bookings, correspondence and documentation for the courses.  She was also involved in helping to organise the Consultations Institute’s annual conference in October which was attended by a wide range of high profile people, including MPs.  Karen said: “ We were absolutely delighted with how helpful Catherine was at this, our flagship annual event.  She came to meet and greet all the delegates and also helped with manning the exhibition stand.  She has exceeded our expectations and proved how capable she is, even at this junior level.”

Apprenticeship approval

As for Catherine herself, there is no doubt that the Apprenticeship has been a confidence builder.  Not only the day-to-day experience she has by working at the Consultation Institute, but also the theory and best practice insight that she learns on her course at Bedford College, such as managing information, producing documents, maintaining stationery stock and supporting business events.  The course has given Catherine the understanding she needs, along with key tools and techniques, to manage her workload effectively and support the rest of the team.

Equipped for change

Moving forward, the business has recently experienced a change in management and the training division where Catherine works will be taking on more marketing and sales responsibilities.  Karen summarised:  “I would absolutely recommend the Bedford College Apprenticeship scheme to other employers.  Not only does it bring a lot of confidence to the apprentice themselves, but it also has a positive effect on the other staff in the team, as they now have someone to help and support them.  There’s no doubt that we’ve all gained from it. In fact we’ve been so impressed with the scheme that we’re now looking to recruit another apprentice from Bedford College.”

To find out more about how Bedford College can help your organisation face future challenges, please telephone: 01234 291747 or email: training@bedford.ac.uk