INVERNESS-based IT services provider and social enterprise, The Apprentice Store, has become the first IT provider in Scotland to achieve platinum accreditation by Investors in Young People (IIYP) and only the sixth organisation in Scotland to achieve this recognition.
A plaque to commemorate this achievement was presented by Fergus Ewing, MSP for Inverness and Nairn, at the organisation’s office in Inverness today.
Launched in 2014, Investors in Young People is a good practice framework, designed to support employers in all sectors, to develop their youth employment practices to attract, recruit, develop and retain young people. Accreditation can be achieved across four levels: standard, silver, gold and platinum.
The accreditation follows an inspection which took place earlier this year and builds on the gold level awarded in 2019. The Apprentice Store was praised for its sustained emphasis on attraction; recruitment; and retention of young people (including those who face barriers to work) across 2020-2022 and despite COVID-19. During the pandemic, the organisation continued to provide Graduate Apprenticeships; Modern Apprenticeships; Foundation Apprenticeships; traineeships and work experience placements.
The culture at The Apprentice Store was also singled out as a differentiator, described as “inclusive; encouraging; supportive; and non-judgemental”.
Speaking about the platinum accreditation, David Massey, Managing Director of The Apprentice Store, said: “Becoming the first IT provider in Scotland to achieve platinum accreditation by Investors in Young People means a great deal to us. We have a very clear vision and purpose to create employment opportunities for young people in IT and we will only achieve that by prioritising our young people and creating a culture that meets their needs and sets them up to succeed. I am proud that this culture has been recognised. The last two years have been challenging for everybody and we had to rethink and adapt how we worked. Our team spirit and culture are stronger than ever and to have this officially recognised is incredible.”
Fergus Ewing, MSP added: “The Investors in Young People accreditation is a significant achievement and as a result of much hard work. Many congratulations to all at The Apprentice Store.”
Bonnie Clarke, Chief Executive of This is Remarkable, the organisation licensed to deliver Investors in Young People, commented: “I want to personally congratulate The Apprentice Store for achieving the prestigious Investors In Young People Platinum award. This is truly a great accolade, this level of recognition is only awarded to the very highest achieving organisations who are genuinely supporting their young people to flourish. The Apprentice Store had a myriad of great examples of supporting young people but the standout characteristic for me is the positive culture, demonstrating a natural inclusivity; encouraging people to thrive in a supportive and non-judgemental manner, fostering a strong sense of community, and belonging. Huge congratulations and credit to the whole team for this great achievement.”
The Apprentice Store, which now employs 12 staff, offers web development, cyber security, IT support, and IT consultancy. The organisation works with businesses of all sizes and sectors from the public, private and third sector and is the only Scottish IT service provider that invests all profits into staff.