Member of the Week - The Apprentice Store

Founded in 2016, The Apprentice Store is a quality IT service provider based in Inverness supporting businesses in the Highlands and beyond. The Apprentice Store works with businesses of all sizes and sectors from the public, private and third sector It is the only Scottish IT service provider that invests all profits into staff.

The Apprentice Store’s services cover web development, cyber security, IT support, and IT consultancy. The Apprentice Store is a social enterprise with the core aim of increasing employment opportunities in IT for young people in the Highlands. It is core to the ethos of the organisation to help grow the career of young people in the IT sector. The Apprentice Store predominately recruits from and engages with employability support programmes to create the opportunity for employment to young people with socially excluded profiles.

Young people are employed on a full-time basis rather than fixed term training contracts with each following a personal learning plan. They are all supported by mentors who are experts in their field to ensure that work is delivered to a high standard.

We spoke to David Massey, Managing Director of The Apprentice Store: “I chose to set up The Apprentice Store to create the opportunity for young people. In a way, I’m giving something back as I am still grateful to those that gave me the opportunity years ago which got me to where I am today. I care about the sector that has given me a career, I care about the area that I call home and it is important to me that local businesses can access a reliable IT services provider.”

David told us why he would like The Apprentice Store to feature as member of the week: “The Apprentice Store has been a member of the Inverness Chamber of Commerce from the beginning. The Chamber, with its close association with DYW, already does a lot to support and develop young people in Inverness and I am keen for all members to understand what we do to help young people to develop a career in IT.”

Many businesses reading this will be doing so at the most extraordinary time during this current Coronavirus pandemic. As organisations try to adapt to the changing working environment, The Apprentice Store have been supporting all their clients to manage that transition to work from home. Whether that’s installing new software or training staff on new systems. For businesses that need help with IT support so that they can still operate during this challenging time, then The Apprentice Store can help. They resell Microsoft Office that allows businesses to work remotely and securely like many channel partners but their USP is that all profits go  back to their social enterprise.

The Apprentice Store’s services cover web development, cyber security, IT support, and IT consultancy. Their product offering includes WebRoot Antivirus and a number of product lines from Office 365. They’ve successfully delivered a number of projects for clients across all business sizes and sectors with the number of projects continuing to grow as new businesses try their responsive service. The Apprentice Store offer competitive rates for IT services on either project or a retainer basis.

We asked David what the plans for The Apprentice Store are over the coming 12 months: “We plan to grow the team in Inverness due to significant new projects that we have recently won but like many businesses our 12 month plan has been turned on its head. Our primary focus at the moment is supporting our clients at this troubled time so they are ready to open fully again later in the year.”

David told us about their fantastic awards and achievements recently: “In 2019, we achieved the prestigious Investors in Young People gold accreditation. We are extremely proud of this as it represents a true commitment to the recruitment, development and retention of Scotland’s young people. A plaque to commemorate this achievement was presented by Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney.

Last year, we were also regional winner of the Employer of the Year category in the annual British Chamber of Commerce Awards.

The Apprentice Store was highly commended again in the Highland Business Awards 2019 by Developing the Young Workforce.”

We asked David what he values most about his Inverness Chamber of Commerce membership: “We definitely value the opportunity to meet other businesses and also to provide our apprentices with the opportunity to interact and network with new people. This is a skill that you can’t really teach but is nevertheless important for their continued professional development.”

David shared his top-tip to other Chamber members to maximise their membership: “I’d say be choosy. There are so many events and workshops organised by the Chamber, but I would say pick the ones that you think you will get the most out of.”

The Apprentice Store will carry out a free Microsoft Office 365 license review to ensure that any client is getting the best out of their subscription and also demonstrate how much they can save by purchasing Office 365 through The Apprentice Store.

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