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News from a Local Employment and Training Programme: WITH LSE


July 28, 2015

To kick start the initiative we want to spread the word about the great practice that is currently taking place within the Northbank and who better to start with than the Northbank’s Vice Chair, Julian Robinson, Director of Estates at the LSE and his apprentice, Tamara Williams.

Could your business do with some extra support? Would you be able to host a local candidate for work experience, an apprenticeship or an internship?

Would you consider taking an intern from our local, top tier universities, King’s and LSE?

Or perhaps you might like to mentor local candidates entering the world of work for the first time?


Julian Robinson has implemented an apprenticeship programme for the Estates Division which he hopes will be rolled out across the LSE.  We took the opportunity to get some tips from him for other would- be local businesses who might consider recruiting an apprentice.

Read the interview here: 

Julian Robinson, Director of Estates and Tamara Williams, Apprentice

JR & Apprentice2

Tamara came to the LSE via the youth employment charity, Connections having had very little in the way of formal education.  An apprenticeship, with its blend of professional and classroom training has been a triumph for Tamara who had a very challenging environment in school which left her with a lack of confidence and no qualifications.  She is now working towards a Level 3 Certificate in Business Administration and has entirely changed her attitude to education.

‘School was difficult for me – but I would really recommend an apprenticeship to others.  I can work and study at the same time’.

She enjoys the family-like atmosphere in the office where teamwork plays an essential part and she has been able to benefit from having a mentor. She thoroughly embraces the new skills she has picked up and is now proficient in Excel, understanding budgets and the importance of sustainability in the built environment.

Julian acknowledges the significant leap that Tamara has made in developing communication skills and in growing in confidence and understanding more about the Division’s work.

‘When Tamara first came to us she was very shy and lacking in confidence.  It has been a real pleasure to see her develop in confidence and skills.  We really enjoy having Tamara around, she is a real asset to the Division and is a very happy and welcome presence contributing very effectively to the whole team’

Julian is very encouraging of businesses who would like to host an apprentice but is also keen to point out that there were initial challenges in finding Tamara and the process did take a long time.

‘Be prepared as an employer to take a risk and you have to hope you will get it right.  I believe that as a global leader in education, the LSE has to take responsibility to make its mark on London and invest in our young people.  They are the future and I believe that it is incumbent on large and smaller organisations to play their part.

I am also mindful of the issue of succession planning.  There are not enough young people coming into the estates management profession and the apprenticeship route was one way to address this shortage.  As well as being worthwhile, it makes good business sense to ensure we are able to continue to recruit good people for a diverse range of roles ’

Julian’s Top Tips for Recruiting an Apprentice

  1. Take a chance on somebody who may not have the formal qualifications but has the right attitude and shows promise.  Skills can be taught but attitude not.
  2. Just because youth unemployment is high, you won’t necessarily find someone quickly.  It is a challenge to find good quality, local candidates, keep persevering.
  3. Ensure your apprentice is able to get involved in all aspects of the department and organisation.  This will ensure that they gain a breadth of knowledge and skills and fully settle in to your business.
  4. Make sure you have a mentor in place to ensure the apprentice settles in as quickly as possible.  The more you invest in the apprentice at the outset, the more rewarding the experience will be for all concerned.
  5. Put good, clear targets in place for the apprentice and make sure they understand that they have help to achieve them.
  6. Come and talk to me!  I am pleased to advise any Northbank business looking to recruit an apprentice; contact Julian at j.s.robinson@lse.ac.uk


Keep up to date with The Northbank CSR bi-monthly newsletter which features a different Northbank business and their CSR initiative, demonstrating the diversity of opportunity out there.  We are currently helping St Edwards to recruit a Receptionist for their site office and Coutts is advertising for possible apprentices for their banking training scheme.