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Digital marketing agency highlights the successes of its apprentices as staff numbers and turnover continue to climb

ByCharley Williams

Jan 7, 2017

A GROWING digital marketing agency has pledged to take more people out of unemployment and train them while in work following the success of three employees whose lives have been transformed since joining the company.

Website design specialist Espresso Web has moved away from its traditional approach of using recruitment agencies to source skilled workers and instead is investing heavily in training and development to nurture talent among those who lack experience but show an eagerness to learn.

The Middlesbrough-based company is continually recruiting staff as it looks to double its sales team in 2017, and intends to take on more apprentices to train in-house while gaining the relevant qualifications with Middlesbrough College.

“Investing in apprenticeships is an affordable way to expand the workforce but furthermore it gives us the confidence to take on more contracts,” said Espresso Web founder Greg Langstaff.

“Our headcount has more than doubled over the past two years – and is set to grow significantly over the coming year – while turnover has grown 200%. There is no way we could have achieved that rate of growth without our apprentices.

“As well as top-line growth, apprentices bring other dynamics and benefits to Espresso Web. They have ideas, they want to achieve and they have a voice within the business.”

Espresso Web’s attitude has been changed by three members of staff – Ryan Smith, Connor Richards and Lee Harris –  who joined with no digital marketing skills following a significant amount of time looking for work.

Mr Smith had been out of work for more than a year when he was offered an apprenticeship at Espresso Web, which employs web developers, graphic designers, creative writers, SEO specialists and sales experts at its recently expanded offices on Riverside Park.

“With rejection after rejection, things never seemed to be going my way, then I was given a chance by Espresso Web. Even with a lack of industry experience, the team trained me up and show me the ropes. It has changed my life” said the 23-year-old search consultant.

Connor Richards, 20, was also taken on as a search consultant following a period of unemployment, while Lee Harris, 27, was given a job as customer service adviser after being made redundant.

“Espresso Web must have seen something in me at the time, they looked past my academic performance and gave me a chance. It is a company that believes in growth, not just of the business, but of all its staff,” said Mr Harris.

Espresso Web is a full-service digital marketing agency, offering Search Engine Optimisation services, website design, e-commence website development, social media marketing and PPC management.

The company historically used recruitment agencies to source staff, but sales team leader Andy Taylor said a few negative experiences led to a refocus on in-house training and development.

“We found the agencies were wanting too much and the candidates they sent were exaggerating their skill set, demanding a high wage and not able to deliver what they promised,” said Mr Taylor.

“So, we took a different approach and it’s paying off.  We believe that if you give the underdogs a chance they are the harder workers and, with support, can really become an integral part of the company.  We try to create a family here and we invest back in our people because it gets the best out of everyone.”