Heavy Showers

Heavy Showers

max temp: 3°C

min temp: 2°C


What its like to work at the Ipswich firm where 40% of staff started as apprentices

PUBLISHED: 18:00 11 October 2018

Ellie Netzel of Clearfield

Ellie Netzel of Clearfield


Unlike her friends who are saddled with debt at university, at the age of 19, Ellie Netzel is making £13,000 plus bonuses. That’s because she chose to go down the apprenticeship route instead.

Clearfield office in Ipswich. Picture: ClearfieldClearfield office in Ipswich. Picture: Clearfield

While most people tend to think of apprenticeships as being manual trade work, Miss Netzel’s apprenticeship is based in an office - Clearfield, a recruitment agency in Ipswich that specialises in the construction industry.

After passing her A Levels at Suffolk One College, Miss Netzel, who is from Chantry, joined the company on Carr Street as an apprentice resourcer in March.

“I knew absolutely nothing about recruitment before I started,” she admits. “I felt an apprenticeship would be a good fit for me because I wanted to carry on learning, but still make money at the same time.

“A lot of jobs out there at the moment you need previous experience for, but not an apprenticeship.”

New apprentices at Clearfield are joining a rapidly growing company. When Miss Netzel joined in March, the company had just 18 employees. Now there are more than 30, and a fifth of them are apprentices.

But Clearfield’s eagerness to take on apprentices is very much bucking the trend in Suffolk, where there has been a 20% drop in the number of people starting apprenticeships since April 2017. At the same time, youth unemployment in the county has risen from 2.8% to 3.9%.

For Clearfield’s talent manager, Kath Sorrell, apprenticeships offer the advantage that employees can be moulded to suit the requirements of the company, right from the start. “Our apprentices don’t come in with bad habits they might otherwise have learnt elsewhere,” she explains. “I think people have the misconception that apprentices are manual positions, and school leavers think that too. But they don’t have to be.

“We have found the apprentice route to be very successful for our company. In fact, over 40% of our Ipswich team started their journey as an apprentice.”

Ms Sorrell claims that Clearfield likes to employ young people because they have more “drive, energy and enthusiasm.”

“They are happy to talk on the phones. A lot of our marketing is done on LinkedIn, and social media comes naturally to them because they’ve grown up with it.”

Miss Netzel initially wanted to pursue a career in acting when she finished college, after studying an A level in Drama. “I changed my mind, because I realised I would have been paid less money for something that wasn’t a guaranteed wage,” she said. “Some of my best friends are at university now, and I’m glad I won’t have that debt.

“I was never quite sure if I wanted to go to university, and I don’t feel like I missed out at all by not going.

“I absolutely love my job, and not many people my age can say that.”

Search hundreds of local jobs at Jobs24

Free iCards for Ipswich youngsters last summer cost £100,000 it has emerged, as latest figures have revealed the extent of take up.

Drivers are warned of possible treacherous road conditions this evening as “freezing rain” could turn roads icy.

Ipswich foodbank’s army of volunteers have been hard at work, packing and wrapping thousands of Christmas food parcels for families in need - but founder Maureen Reynel says they need even more help as demand for the service soars.

A vegan activist and mum of three is preparing for her first Christmas as a vegan and explains why she won’t give in to her meat-eating friends.

A man has been fined almost £300 for taking his hands off the wheel to make a two fingered gesture at a speed camera in Suffolk.

A Melton mum who was crowned the World’s Strongest Woman and a look at 13 new restaurants and bars in Ipswich is on our don’t miss list. Make sure you catch up with our top stories.

A Suffolk birdwatching group is offering people the chance to have something to crow about – by taking part in a county-wide rook survey.

A prisoner from Hollesley Bay has been found after an appeal was launched to locate him.

A fire alarm temporarily stopped the show going on at the New Wolsey Theatre.

Charlotte Smith-Jarvis tries out tapas sized dishes at the new Arlingtons in Ipswich.

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Most read

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Ipswich Star daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24