Rachel Reeves, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and MP for Leeds West, has visited the global HQ of technology-enabled language solution provider thebigword to see the company’s award-winning apprenticeship scheme in action.

Rachel Reeves was joined by Lucinda Yeadon, Councillor for Kirkstall Ward and executive member for leisure and skills on Leeds City Council, and Sue Wynne, Chief Officer for Employment and Skills within Leeds City Council.

More than 120 apprentices have been through thebigword’s programme since its launch in 2011. Sixty-four per cent go on to full-time jobs with the company, working with client companies and linguists worldwide helping deliver thebigword’s services. Such has been the success of the programme that last year, thebigword won ‘Large Employer of the Year’ in the Leeds City Council Apprenticeship Awards and was named a ‘Top 100 Apprentice Employer’ nationally and congratulated by Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Nick Clegg.

Rachel Reeves met with Jordan Iliffe – a current apprentice who had joined after studying for a year at 6th form – and Elisha Gibson – a former apprentice now employed by thebigword, recruiting new staff and apprentices – to discuss their experiences.

Rachel Reeves said: “It was really inspiring to visit thebigword: they do business around the world and offer amazing opportunities for their staff. thebigword has a really good apprenticeship programme, with many of the people they train going on to work for the business.”

thebigword currently has ten apprenticeship vacancies available, and Rachel Reeves said that she would be happy to recommend thebigword apprenticeships to schools within her constituency.

thebigword’s Director of Human Resources, Karen Milner, said: “We’re not just looking at qualifications. What’s important is personality and the ability to deal with people, willingness to learn and a real enthusiasm for the job. Every employee at thebigword has the opportunity to regularly discuss their development to enable them to work towards, and train for, advancement within the company.  There’s also the opportunity to work overseas.  As our Apprentice Programme matures, we’re seeing the early apprentices develop into these roles.”