‘Apprenticeships provide school and college leavers with an excellent route into their chosen career path, whilst avoiding the burden of costly university fees’ – that’s according to the man at the helm of a Warwickshire-based supreme destination venue.

With National Apprenticeship Week due to get underway next week, the General Manager of IXL Events Ltd has given his full backing to the scheme as he looks to take on his first apprentice this year.

Major Richard Carney MBE, who has been running the Dallas Burston Polo Club in Southam since April 2013, believes the image and reputation of apprenticeships has improved dramatically over the last few years and offers a wealth of benefits to all involved.

“The idea that apprenticeships are for people who cannot get into university is just simply not the case,” added Major Carney. “Apprenticeships have evolved over the past few years and you can now get apprenticeships in some really specialised careers, covering everything from law to interior design.

“I believe that apprenticeships are now a valid and appealing alternative to university and bring so many benefits to the individual and to businesses, as well as addressing this country’s skills shortage.”

IXL Events will take on its first apprentice in a business administration role within the next few weeks – but Major Carney says he hopes to increase his intake of apprentices over the next five years.

Working with local schools and colleges, the business will be looking for someone to carry out a variety of tasks including reception and diary management right through to event support and assisting with the planning and running of activities at the club.

“There will be a lot for the apprentice to do,” said Major Carney. “But we are confident that this role will provide the apprentice with a variety of skills including great customer service, planning and prioritising tasks, as well as improving their communication skills and their ability to work as part of a team. All of these skills are important for almost any career.

“We are hoping to have an apprentice in place by April, however we are aware that some applicants might have commitments such as exams, so we are willing to wait until the summer if we find a suitable apprentice.

“As a business, I am confident that an apprentice will provide us with many advantages, not least a youthful injection of curiosity and eagerness. I also believe that among the many benefits of taking on an apprentice is the ability to mould an individual so that they are a perfect fit for our organisation.

“Over the next five years we hope to take on a number of apprentices in different areas of the business. We want to start with business administration but open up opportunities across a wide range of other areas including HR, accountancy, hospitality and estate management.

“We are hoping that any individual who joins us on an apprenticeship programme will eventually find an area of the business that’s right for them and then we can tailor their training and career progression to suit their needs.

“As a business, we are very committed to developing our staff and helping them to progress within the company. We have always recognised that our workforce is fundamental to the ongoing success of the business and we look forward to welcoming our first apprentice this year.”