The Rt Hon Damian Green MP visited RIFT Group, one of the UK’s leaders in tax refunds and accounting, as part of National Apprenticeship Week.
Mr Green was there to applaud the success of the company’s first apprentice, Abbie Montgomery, who is now a permanent member of staff.
He also heard from managing director Jan Post about RIFT Group’s ethos of training and developing staff from within.
Abbie, 23, joined the company under the Kent Training and Apprenticeships Programme. Originally from Northern Ireland, she moved to Kent to be with her partner, but struggled to find a job.
She said, “I didn’t have many qualifications or any experience, so getting a job proved really difficult. I found out about the apprenticeship scheme online and it was really easy and straightforward to apply.”
She applied for a RIFT apprenticeship and was successful, starting as an administration apprentice in May 2014. With the support of RIFT’s own Training Academy, she developed quickly and her aptitude and work ethos was recognised by the company. Abbie went on to successfully apply for a full time role as Business Development Assistant within the RIFT Tax Refund division, starting her new permanent role in September 2014.
Damian Green said, “Securing a better future for young people living in the county is paramount and will be achieved by providing quality employment opportunities.
“I have been able to see for myself this fantastic example of how an apprenticeship has resulted in full time employment. The fact that RIFT Group will be extending the number of apprenticeships it offers is also testament to its positive impact on the business.”
Jan Post commented, “We’re delighted that our first experience of an apprentice has been so successful and, of course, thrilled for Abbie personally that she now has the security of a full time position, where she can further develop her skills and experience.
“Staff are our biggest asset and we believe a well-trained, motivated, excited and engaged workforce provides the best possible customer experience. We are now looking to develop further apprenticeship opportunities and are also seeking external recognition of our internal training academy.”
RIFT Group boasts a low rate of staff turnover, running at less than 1%, which the company believes to be a reflection of its investment in people and their loyalty. While Abbie’s apprenticeship story is a great achievement, it is not unusual for employees to further their career with RIFT Group; the company promotes from within where possible and over 60% of staff in its tax refunds division have been promoted in the past two years.