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At the time of writing, spring has most definitely sprung here in North Yorkshire. But it's not just in the garden that we're seeing an appetite for growth.

Growing your business talent is something that more and more companies are embracing, and an increasing number are taking a 'hire for attitude; train for skill' approach to recruitment. The apprentice levy has put the issue of bringing young talent into businesses firmly on the agenda. Whilst the levy falls largely on big business, employing an apprentice or intern is becoming a very attractive option for SMEs keen to add new skills to their workforce whilst providing career opportunities for up and coming talent. With government funding available, investing in apprentices and interns can also be a cost effective way for businesses to nurture and develop talent, and expand their services.

Science park residents are no strangers to engaging with apprenticeship and intern programmes.More than 35 of its resident businesses have employed an intern or apprentice during the last year. IT solutions company Catalyst IT, is one such business that has fully embraced apprentices. The Catalyst IT team first started working together in 2002, and arrived at York Science Park three years ago. starting with 5 employees, the firm has grown considerably and delivers back office systems, business intelligence and digital services. In the last 12 months alone, the team has successfully delivered over 150 projects to an expansive customer base, from start-ups to FTSE-100 companies.

Operations director Richard Grierson says "Working in the IT services sector, it's important that we stay ahead of the game and support new talent coming into the industry. We were at the point of needing an extra pair of hands to help us free up time to focus on business growth. Hiring an apprentice seemed a natural step for us. Currently, computer science undergraduate Myles (19) is working with us as an apprentice. We recruited Myles to provide first line support for our client base but, having seen what he's capable of, we have extended his role to include coding, updating webpages and creating eshots. It really is a win-win as far as we're concerned. Not only does Myles bring unique skills to the team, he is also learning a great deal from spending time in a business environment."

Catalyst IT signed Myles up through QA Apprenticeships in Leeds, having previously recruited through the scheme. Richard adds, "Myles' apprenticeship has been such a success that we are now recruiting a second apprentice. we'd definitely recommend  that other businesses consider the apprenticeship route; we've found it to be incredibly rewarding for everyone involved."




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