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Why Slingo Originals Studio loves degree apprenticeships

  • Date

    Wed 29 Jan 20

National Apprenticeship Week Slingo Games

Apprenticeships are a great way for people of all ages and backgrounds to gain vital skills for their chosen career; and provides employers with a valuable working force.

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, we have spoken to both apprentices and employers on our schemes to find out why they are so rewarding.

Phil Halston and Dan Lamond are the Gaming and Creative Directors at Slingo Originals Studio, an independent online games developer.

The company designs and builds twelve games a year and they hire apprentices, like Fletcher Hurn to build the game engines.

Phil said: “The apprentice is fully involved and embedded within the team. The games they work on go live and are accessed all around the world with advertisements even appearing on TV in some countries.

“They are able to see the results of their hard work which is incredibly motivating for them as they can see how much money they are bringing in for the company.”

In the past the company has struggled to recruit developers, as many candidates didn’t have the skills or experience required for the role.

Phil and Dan decided to look into apprenticeships so they could hire skilled, motivated employees who were enthusiastic about game development.

Accessing the Apprenticeship Levy

Phil said: “We wanted to train and mould people to fit our business needs. Developers are in high demand so recruiting staff is expensive, and we had access to the Apprenticeship Levy which had previously not been used.”

The company worked with the Apprenticeship to draw up a contract, access the Apprenticeship Levy and write the job description for the apprenticeship. The vacancy was then advertised on the National Apprenticeships Service, UCAS and their Apprenticeship webpages, with Phil and Dan managing the shortlisted candidates.

Recruiting excellent apprentices

Phil said: “We were pleasantly surprised by the calibre of applicants. They also came from a very wide range of backgrounds. We chose Fletcher as he demonstrated the passion and drive we were looking for and we were pleased to give him the opportunity straight out of completing his A ‘levels.”

The process was so successful that Phil and Dan recruited another apprentice in September 2019.

Phil explained why apprentices like Fletcher have been so beneficial for the company.

He said: “They bring enthusiasm and a willingness to learn from those around them. They have a fresh approach to work and are more open to ideas but are also willing to challenge them and ask why something is done in a particular way. They provide us with valuable feedback on our games and want to make things better by challenging the status quo!”

Apply for our degree apprenticeships

As well as apprenticeships in Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, the University also offers apprenticeships in Health and Social care and an AMBA accredited Master of Business Administration Degree Apprenticeship at Essex Business School.

For more information about apprenticeships at Essex, please email apprenticeships@essex.ac.uk or visit our apprenticeships pages