Navigator Apprentices

The Navigator Apprentices' Stories

The Navigator Apprenticeship Scheme

Over the past 15 years, there have been a number of people who have started as Apprentices at Navigator, some have then gone on to develop their careers elsewhere, but we have a number that have stayed with us, and developed their careers with us.

Why does DMS Navigator choose to recruit apprentices?

It gives young people an introduction to the working world but also gives them the ability to learn and earn at the same time! Which I personally think is brilliant! College isn’t for everyone… I went to college for the whole of 6 weeks, it just wasn’t for me.  

Have your apprenticeships been successful?

Absolutely! I came from an apprenticeship that I started after doing a summer temp job at DMS Navigator, and I am still here! Almost 15 years later.  

We also have three other staff members that have now been with us from 8 – 10 years that came through an apprenticeship program.  

I think we had one other apprentice in that time who chose that it wasn’t right for them but that is the only unsuccessful apprenticeship we have had.  

It seems the employee retention rate from apprenticeships is good from our experience!  

We currently have our latest apprentice start with us a couple of months ago – I missed it! Seeing someone start from the beginning and progress makes me so proud! There is something in the enjoyment of watching someone succeed isn’t there?  

Would you recommend other companies to recruit an apprentice?

100%! If your culture is like ours in which we love to see people strive – then absolutely. Seeing an apprentice bloom is great.  

I can’t think of any cons but only pros to be perfectly honest. They get the experience that they desire, and we get someone we can shape to our business model as well as them bringing in new fresh ideas which is equally important.  

Following are some of the journeys that some of our apprentices have taken

Leanne Hackett – Operations Director

Administrator Apprentice 2008

“Ok so my apprenticeship journey is slightly different to others as the MD is my father haha. I first stepped through the doors in 2007 after quitting college (naughty me) and Simon had a temp job going to get some scanning up to date so of course I snapped up the opportunity.  

I don’t think any of us really expected I would stick like I did – I certainly didn’t. I had this vision of going into journalism at some point.

After a couple of weeks, the main reception phone was ringing, which at the time we were a small business and Simon was also doing the telephone and the couple of guys on Helpdesk, but it was too busy for them so one day I just started picking it up!  

To my surprise, I enjoyed it, I was extremely shy back then! I wouldn’t say boo to a goose but to my delight on the telephone was a totally different thing.  

I then built up the courage to ask if I could stay on, and the agreement was only if I went via an apprenticeship scheme and was successful – If I recall I was doing apprenticeships for almost 2/3 years because I oddly got hooked to that too and did level 1 all the way through to level 3.

I was on apprenticeship wage – no family perks of full wage – we work for what we want, and we do it the same as everyone else. But I was learning and getting paid at the same time, as well as absorbing knowledge from all the current employees. It was a win win situation!  

I stayed after the apprenticeship because I have watched the company grow – I feel attached to it, the people are amazing, the work is so varied, I get to see other people grow and blossom. It has nothing to do with it being a family business at all – I love the work and I love the people – I love that we all help one another grow, no judgement just encouragement”  

Billy Pelekanos

Helpdesk Apprentice 2022

“I chose to do an apprenticeship after leaving college early. I was also working part-time alongside, so the hours were racking up, meaning I never had time for my friends or family.

After leaving my job, trying another college course, and realising it wasn’t for me, I decided to give apprenticeships a crack.  

I got in contact with The Source, who in-turn had found Navigator after I showed an interest in IT. One of the tutors visited and told me it seemed like the perfect fit, so I bit the bullet and booked me interview.

I can remember walking from the bus stop to the office, body shaking with nerves. Once I puckered up the faux-confidence, I walked in and had my interview with Perry.  

We were dressed starkly different – he wore a Gameboy T-shirt whilst I wore a suit. We talked over a game of pool, and after almost believing I messed up, I found out I got the job.

So here I am! I’m a month or so down the line, and I’m currently completing coursework which will be worth a Level 2 Diploma in Customer Service by the end of next year.

I plan on then hopefully staying – either to do my Level 3 or to become a fully-fledged Helpdesk Operative, which I’m yet to decide on.  

I enjoy my apprenticeship as I am getting a real insight into IT, and I get to help people with problems. I feel really happy when the customer says ‘oh that’s brilliant’ once an issue is resolved.

I’m also working alongside some brilliant people, of who were apprentices before so know exactly how to help should I need it.

I’m getting paid to learn my childhood passion – working with computers, what’s not to love?”

Daniel Wild – Implementations Consultant

Helpdesk Apprentice 2012

“I started an apprenticeship in the hope that it would allow me to develop my skills and have the potential for a full-time job.  

Some things in life just work out, as I could not be happier 10 years later!

This route got me my dream job, allowed me to develop my skills and be surrounded by lovely genuine people.”

Perry Farrell – Helpdesk Manager

Helpdesk Apprentice 2011

It all started over 11 years ago, on a wonderfully sunny February afternoon.  

I had just finished my job as a toy salesman, selling electronic monkeys that sat on your shoulder. I was ready to embark on the next chapter of my young life.

I arrived at my interview nice and early and was greeted by a very cheerful Simon Verona and Leanne Hackett (both dressed very casually while I was dressed incredibly smart) they offered me a drink and sat me down.

The usual interview questions and answers were thrown around… until I got to the part about explaining my previous job role.

“So, what did you sell” asked Simon, I replied with confidence “I demonstrated a monkey that shat on my shoulder”

Simon and Leanne both looked at each other, and the interview was brought to a quick end. I left the interview thinking I had messed up but turned out I had got the job. And the rest is history!

I started my employment at Navigator shortly after and successfully completed my apprenticeship with their help and support. I’ve been lucky enough to be employed and supported by the same company who have helped me grow in confidence and allowed me to progress within in the 11 years I’ve been with them.

Being able to learn from a pool of different talents all while being paid to do so is an amazing way of training!

I strongly believe apprenticeships are also a fantastic tool that businesses can use to support and grow the company, I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside some amazing people that started as apprentices and currently in the process of training another.

Rebecca Shimwell – Implementations Manager

Helpdesk Apprentice 2013

“I chose to do an apprenticeship as I had recently left school and had very little job experience other than a Christmas temp role, an apprenticeship seemed the most appealing way to learn and get paid! 

My apprenticeship entailed a tutor coming in periodically to check over how I was doing, what skills I was learning on the role and what I was picking up from the coursework they supplied me. I found it to work well with my job role and was completed successfully. 

I carried on working for Navigator after I completed my apprenticeship as I enjoyed my job, loved the people I work with, appreciated the recognition from my managers to progress to other role opportunities and saw the potentially for my growth within the company.

I would certainly recommend doing an apprenticeship as it's a great steppingstone into securing a career.”  

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