We partner with businesses to identify, recruit, train, support, progress and retain talented employees.
Recruit. Train. Retain. Progress.
How We Do It
We offer our partner businesses three different but interconnected services.
Our Academies connect ambitious businesses with young local talent that with our bespoke training and support go on to thrive in their careers. As a result, business productivity goes up and young people go on to shine.
We are specialists in roles that are focussed on communicating with customers such as Sales, Marketing, Digital Marketing, Customer Service and Business Development.
Businesses that work with Working Knowledge can utilise the Apprenticeship Levy to access 90% government subsidy. We are expert at developing effective programmes that therefore help you to save on training and recruitment costs.
Our Academy programmes have five main elements:
- Expert advice in the design of in-house recruitment, induction, training, retention and progression processes with reference to managing young Gen Z millennials.
- Search, selection and recruitment of young talent from diverse non-traditional ‘pools’ that in turn widens the diversity of the employee base.
- Expert in-person training in groups specifically designed around the needs of your business.
- Apprenticeship qualifications.
- Support and training to managers of new recruits to maximise success.
Find talented, young prospects that are as passionate as they are skilled. Our diverse pool of talented trainees are ready to excel for your company.
Through our Working Academy training boot camp we are able to prepare trainees with the skills, knowledge, and behaviour training that will see them transition into full employment with eas
We don’t just support our trainees before and after hiring, we also provide staff training, strategic consultancy, and manager support for your business.
We have decades of experience in helping businesses find the young talent that will take them forward. To date we have worked with almost 4,000 companies, 2,300 staff, and 23,000 learners.
Working Knowledge leverages the Apprenticeship Levy to fund a large portion of our bespoke programmes. What that means for your business is that you can get superior recruitment and training services while saving money on both.
We have partnered with over 100 colleges and universities. We provide a bridge between education and business, where educators can learn what companies need from employees and businesses can build beneficial relationships.
We all carry an unconscious bias that blinkers our recruitment process. We help businesses boost diversity by focusing on merit-based achievement. Our young talent is motivated to earn their careers.
We don’t believe in giving young people a chance if they don’t deserve it. Great careers do not come easy and we are too busy to work with young people who are not fully engaged. That said we all carry an unconscious bias around that blinkers our recruitment process and can effect management style and therefore retention. We therefore help businesses boost diversity in its widest sense by spotting, nurturing and unleashing hidden talents within our bespoke Academies for the benefit of both young people and the businesses they join.
Case Study – Watertight Marketing Academies
Launched in 2018, these Academies are targeted at entrepreneur-led ambitious businesses that require a trained and supported marketing resource to build sales leads via digital channels.
Why Watertight Marketing?
Designed and refined over the last decade across over 1500 companies, the Watertight Marketing methodology is a proven and powerful approach captured in the best-selling book by Bryony Thomas.
It was a chat between James and Bryony that led to the launch of the Watertight Marketing Academy. Like many businesses, at Working Knowledge, we simply did not have enough time or resource to do the digital marketing we knew we needed to do. Bryony said, “What you need James is an apprentice”. She was right! But not any apprentice, trained simply on the tactical digital tools.
We wanted an apprentice that:
- Is trained in digital marketing, set in the context of a wider strategic framework that
is proven to work in real businesses – The Watertight Marketing framework.
- Is supported by real-world marketers, not academics, who have held marketing
budgets, run marketing teams, and worked hands-on in growing businesses. This means practical learning applied to your specific business.
- Is clear how their activities will generate sales and positively impact the bottom line.
- Is an existing employee we can retrain or a young talent we can recruit.
So, the Watertight Marketing Academy was born to train Digital Marketers for ambitious businesses serious about their customers. And since it’s mapped to an Apprenticeship Standard the government will cover 90% of the training cost for non-levy paying businesses.
Case Study – Nisbets Academies
In July 2016 Nisbets launched a new concept in recruitment and training for 7 new hires (apprentices) in partnership with Working Knowledge and Weston College; Nisbets Academies. By the end of 2018, a total of 10 Nisbets Academies have started. The impact on retention and productivity has been profound.
So, what is an Academy?
Nisbets Academies recruit young people and give them dedicated training and support over a 15-month period to accelerate their careers. Effectively therefore we are recruiting them on their potential and ‘raw’ talent rather than time in similar roles, and then giving them the working knowledge to flourish here at Nisbets.
Simon James, Head of Key Accounts, remarked “Since we started this innovative programme 22 colleagues have been successful in all areas of our department. I’m so proud of our Academy Trainees both for the hard work they continue to put in, but also for helping us develop the Academy programme which we are continuing to tweak and improve. Well done to the whole Nisbets Academy team.”
Helen Telford, senior manager in Key Accounts, says “It’s been great to be involved in developing the Academy. Like many here, I joined Nisbets in the same role our Academy Trainees start in and have experienced first-hand how a career here can flourish. The Academy will ultimately give others the same opportunities I have had.”
We also caught up with a few of the graduating Academy trainees to find out what the Academy has meant to them and what the future now holds as a result
Harry was working in retail before joining the first Nisbets Academy. “After completing my A-levels I got a job in retail. Even though I was doing a good job in two years my career was still going nowhere! Joining the Nisbets Academy has been the most challenging thing I have done but also the most fulfilling. It has really pushed me professionally and personally and I feel I am better for it as a result. And the good stable salary has meant I have been able to get my own place and take my driving test too!”
Bridie had a very different background to Harry. “I never expected to end up working in an office! Before joining the Nisbets Academy I had been running event catering at festivals and also working as a photographer for a small studio. I love working at Nisbets! One of the things that really surprised me is how close we have got as a group on our Academy. That feeling of group support is a real confidence booster.”
Paul’s story is different again. “I got back from travelling and the easy thing to do would be to go back to my old dead end job. I am so glad I didn’t! I have much more responsibility here at Nisbets and therefore much better chance of progression.”
2. Management training
Existing employees of course should not be denied the opportunity for training and upskilling.
The Apprenticeship Levy can be used to fund the training of existing employees of any age and level of seniority. It is possible to do a Masters Level apprenticeship and fund it through the Levy process.
We specialise in bespoke Leadership and Management Programmes with a focus on:
- Effective communication skills
- Entrepreneurial thinking
- Managing and recruiting millennials, specifically Generation Z (born in the 90’s and 00’s).
Programmes are delivered in partnership with Weston College an outstanding educator that delivers nationally and at all levels including degrees.
Like our Academies we require a minimum number of delegates on a programme.
Case Study – Bristol Port – Maritime Leadership Academy
In 2017, The Bristol Port Company launched a bespoke programme for its future leaders and managers, funded via the Apprenticeship Levy. The programme involves supervisors from across the various departments within the business and is designed to develop their leadership and unlock their potential for the Port’s future.
The Maritime Leadership and Development Course is delivered in partnership with Working Knowledge, Weston College and The Outward Bound Trust. The programme incorporates a number of modules, including safety, specialist communications training and a week’s Outward Bound course. Building effective links and learning between departments, based across two docks (Avonmouth and Portbury) is also a clear objective of the programme.
The Bristol Port Company has a long association with apprenticeships and was the first UK port to launch a bespoke Stevedore Apprenticeship Scheme. 79 of the current workforce of 536 have come through the Port Apprenticeship Scheme and these individuals fill many of the senior positions within the company
David Brown, CEO, remarked “My initial conversation with James from Working Knowledge stimulated a review of training throughout the organisation and we quickly recognised that our aspiring supervisors and managers could benefit from some tailored leadership training to unlock their potential. Working Knowledge have been instrumental in helping us navigate the Apprenticeship Levy and build a bespoke programme with the right partners, who have both the skills to deliver what we want and also the flexibility to adapt training to our needs.”
David adds” Running an apprenticeship programme for existing employees can have its challenges but we believe we have created a programme that works for our business, the delivery partners and, most importantly, the individuals”.
CSR with true commercial value
We know that for our economy to grow and thrive, the workplace needs a steady stream of work-ready, eager, confident, creative and ambitious new young employees. This is too greater challenge for teachers alone, since educators cannot know what actually happens in all industries and more importantly what skills and attributes are required of new young employees or indeed freelancers/entrepreneurs.
This is CSR with true commercial value to you. We set-up volunteering opportunities to work with and alongside our education partners to support the education of 16+ year-olds to better align them to the demands of the workplace.
What happens on a volunteering day?
We don’t ask our Volunteers to give speeches or presentations or prepare anything before the day. Interactive and hands-on, our volunteering days are designed to maximise the impact you can make by sharing your career-journey, experiences and knowledge.
Benefits to Volunteers
What they say
This experience has been inspiring. It has really showcased to me the amazing talent available in local colleges, which I would have never considered before. It is clear to me now that we need to adapt our recruitment model to take advantage of the talented college graduates.
Working Knowledge offered us an innovative solution that has opened our eyes to how Apprenticeship Levy can be utilised to deliver genuine results in training and recruitment.