When Charlotte Frost and Richard Hopkinson joined EKM as apprentices in 2019, they expected a year of growth and development led by the UK’s highest-rated ecommerce platform. However, a global pandemic pushed them further than they ever imagined.
Apprenticeships are a great way for aspiring professionals (in a variety of industries) to gain real world experience in their chosen field. Businesses who host these apprentices also get the opportunity to host up and coming talent and recruit employees who are eager to learn.
Charlotte and Richard were the first apprentices brought on by EKM, a leading UK tech company based in Preston, Lancashire, in a partnership with Manchester-based Code Nation, a digital training specialist. The addition of the two apprentices was a part of EKM’s ongoing commitment to supporting the development of the next generation of ecommerce and engineering experts.
Throughout the 12 month programme, the duo were fully integrated into daily operations as part of EKM’s Shop Management Squad, each paired with a mentor responsible for guiding them through their journey into the world of software development.
As the pair were nearing the end of their apprenticeship programme, and thus the beginning of exams, the UK entered mandatory coronavirus lockdown, forcing Rick and Charlotte to complete the last months of their programme remotely, communicating with their team and their mentors only virtually during the most intense months of their studies.
“Working remotely was a real test but it gave me the opportunity to flourish and show how far I have come over the last 12 months,” said Rick. “With the support of my squad I was able to show off my abilities and produce some brilliant pieces of work.”
Despite the difficulties, both Richard and Charlotte have passed their final exams, now each holding a Level 4 Software Development Certification and an offer to continue working with EKM as full-fledged members of the prestigious Engineering team.
“My EKM colleagues really contributed to helping me overcome any difficulties and made sure I understood things,” said Charlotte. “I couldn’t have done it without them and I am extremely grateful for their continued support.”