Apprenticeship case studies

From apprentice to Head of Product – in just five years

Invotra hired some of our very first Developer apprentices back in 2011. We caught up with them to see how they were getting on.


What will an apprentice’s career look like in 5 years’ time? We’ve got the answer.

We caught up with Invotra – who hired some of our first Developer apprentices back in 2011 – when our Software and Web Development apprenticeship was launched.

Paul Zimmerman, COO at Invotra explains.

Growing a young company

In June 2011, Invotra (iO1, as it was known then) was a very young company.

When the seeds of what were to become Invotra were just taking root, we took a major decision: to recruit the best talent to do what we wanted to do, we needed to develop our own talent. We couldn’t have afforded paying over the odds for software engineers or drupal experts. The market commanded a premium for folks with deep technical skills.

We decided to work with QA. We only needed one apprentice; but, when two pitched up to the interview, we couldn’t choose between them. They both shared the character and quality traits we wanted for the future Invotra.

Where did the apprentices start?

Billy Clackers and Nqobile Dube joined in the first week of June 2011. They were both 18. In Billy’s case, he didn’t even know HTML. To say they were green was a massive understatement.

Where were they after five years?

Billy has gone on to be Invotra’s Head of Product. He works with our CEO and me on the product’s vision, strategy and roadmap. He now manages a team of three who are focussed on areas like user experience, design and accessibility.

Nqobile was promoted to Technical Services Manager in 2015, where he currently leads the team (some of whom are more than twice his age) responsible for “keeping tens of thousands of customers happy” (his words) by ensuring that our systems are running and stable every minute of every day.

Apprentices take you everywhere you want to go

Apprentices and apprentice graduates like Billy and Nqobile; where do they take a company? The simple answer is, they take us everywhere we want to go.

Apprentices, when fully supported, give so much. They work exceptionally hard. They understand our customers. They understand our product. They get service, and when our service could potentially let our customers down. And they get the wider market. They see technological trends before others.

Today, ⅓ of our entire staff are either apprentices or apprentice graduates.

Want to hire an apprentice? Let’s talk.

Contact us to find out more about apprenticeships

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