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Employer Testimonial: Far East Europe Ltd.

Read about Far East Europe’s experience of employing an apprentice, Natalie Manfredi, through Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service.


Natalie Manfredi

"As a growing company, Far East Europe Ltd. (a specialist manufacturer of Chinese wok cookers and oriental catering equipment) were looking for a cost effective way in which to expand our workforce. We chose to take on an apprentice with a view to long term employment for a number of reasons, not least being the flexibility of the learning process.

"Employment is a costly and risky exercise as you can find out too late that the employee is not suitable for the company, whereas apprenticeships are a low risk and cost effective way of finding the employees our company needs and allows the business to discover the apprentice’s potential. Should your company feel that they don’t have the skills you require it is simple to terminate the apprenticeship at no major loss to the company.

"Natalie has been able to gain real life experience and gain confidence in the workplace whilst following a structured learning path. We have had the opportunity to train Natalie to our business needs as well as providing her with skills that she would be able to use in future employment.

"We have found the Derbyshire County Council apprenticeship scheme to be helpful, well organised and easy to contact regarding any queries. Carol Howe [Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service] has worked very hard for our company to understand the businesses requirements and has done a very good job in preselecting suitable candidates before the formal interviews. Natalie has quickly become an enthusiastic and valued member of our team who we have now employed permanently at completion of her apprenticeship.

"Natalie will continue to benefit from further training throughout her employment with Far East Europe– as all our staff does. We are very pleased with her commitment to learning. So far the company has employed three apprentices, two of which were offered a permanent job; one has stayed with our company and the other has moved on to another company.

"As an employer I would definitely recommend offering apprenticeships as it is a great way of growing talent for the business and helping young people start their careers."

Natalie said:

"I started my apprenticeship back in January 2014. It was a real struggle at first, with there being so much to learn and become accustomed to, but eventually with a lot of support from the company and the Derbyshire Adult Community Education Service, I got in the swing of things. My apprenticeship lasted for a year and now it’s June 2015 and I am delighted to have completed my level 2 NVQ in Business and Administration.

It has been a fantastic opportunity that has allowed me to gain a combination of practical experience and the qualification to go with it and it has even resulted with full time work, I could not have hoped for a better outcome. Without my apprenticeship I wouldn’t have been able achieve what I have achieved now, it has helped me progress not just in the work side of my life but in all areas. I had low confidence and was extremely nervous about starting a new job, this was a perfect way for me to show my abilities and grow as a person. I now find it is second nature talking with customers and suppliers.

The company I work for, Far East Europe Ltd, has been very supportive and is a great place to work. All of the people I have met and spoken to along the way, from the company and from Adult Education, have been supportive, friendly and really helpful. Even once the apprenticeship ends, support and guidance is still offered."