IT company and social enterprise, The Apprentice Store, recognises increased social impact in the Highlands through annual Supporters Awards

22/04/2024

IT company and social enterprise, The Apprentice Store, based in Inverness, is celebrating increased social impact in the Highlands thanks to a record year of support from its clients all over the UK.

The company has issued its Supporters Awards for the fourth year running, designed to demonstrate the social impact of choosing IT services from The Apprentice Store. The awards recognise the contribution of those businesses who continue to support the organisation in its mission to create sustainable employment for young people in IT in the Highlands.

In 2024, The Apprentice Store has recognised more businesses and awarded the highest number of platinum awards since the company started the Supporters Awards in 2020.

In total, 77 businesses have been given an award, including four platinum awards given to Carlton Clubs Ltd; Communities Housing Trust; CRU Hospitality; and Whale-like-fish. There are also two gold awards (Third Sector Lab and Calman Trust), two silver awards (Giraffe Healthcare and 2bcreative) and 14 bronze awards (MBS365; Tuminds Social Media; UHI Moray; Forsyths; Safety, Welding, Lifting (International); Grain and Grind; Instant Neighbour; Gateway; Inverness Computer Centre; Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE); HISEZ CIC; Karen Moore Biz; Scottish Squash; and Fasthosts Internet).

Speaking about the Supporters Awards, David Massey, Managing Director and Founder of The Apprentice Store, said: “In the 2024 Supporters Awards we are recognising more businesses than ever before and awarding more platinum awards than ever before. Since we started, The Apprentice Store has delivered 29 modern apprenticeships, supported nine foundation apprenticeships and employed 25 people.

“The Supporters Awards are important because we can demonstrate the value of client business in terms of a percentage of an apprentice salary. This year, we have clients receiving their awards as far south as Kent, as far north as Tain, as far east as Aberdeen and as far west as Skye.”

“Whilst we are based in Inverness, fewer than 40% of our UK clients are from the Highlands but their support is helping to create sustainable employment in the IT sector here in the Highlands. A big thank you to all our supporters as they are not just clients as many simply think of us when referring others looking for IT services.”

The awards are presented to every business that contributes at least one week of an apprentice salary through direct work or referrals. The awards are structured as follows:

  • Platinum: 100% of salary
  • Gold: 75% of salary
  • Silver: 50% of salary
  • Bronze: 25% of salary
  • 5 stars: 10% of salary
  • 4 stars: 8% of salary
  • 3 stars: 6% of salary
  • 2 stars: Two weeks of salary
  • 1 star: One week of salary

Leslie Ross, Finance Director at Carlton Clubs and who are this year’s biggest supporter, said: “Carlton is delighted to be this years’ biggest supporter of The Apprentice Store.  We place a high value on the mutually beneficial relationship, one that not only has to work financially for both parties, but also at a strategic and practical level.  We took a leap of faith in placing the security and reliability of our systems in the hands of The Apprentice Store but we’ve seen greater stability in our systems whilst support, both on a day-to-day and strategic basis, has worked very well.”

Another recipient of a platinum award, Scott Murray, Managing Director of CRU Hospitality, added: “We are delighted that our decision to work with Apprentice Store has had such a positive impact.”

Closer to home, this year has also seen an increased number of referrals to The Apprentice Store generated by Inverness Chamber of Commerce, as CEO Colin Marr explained: “Many of our members ask us for advice on a range of services – including IT. We are always happy to recommend our member companies and the fact that The Apprentice Store is a social enterprise and supports youth employment can be an important consideration in the procurement process for some businesses.”

The Apprentice Store’s commitment to young people and inclusivity is widely acknowledged. The organisation was awarded the Inclusive Workplace Award by the Scottish Union of Supported Employment (SUSE) and is the only IT provider in Scotland to be platinum accredited by Investors in Young People (IIYP).

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