Jamie Garrett joined Invotra in December 2013 as a Level 3 Software Developer Apprentice. However, in the years that followed Jamie has not only gone on to complete a Level 4 & 5 Chartered Management Apprenticeship (CMDA), but has taken his career to new heights. Here’s his story.
What did your apprenticeship give you? (Knowledge/experience/advantages)
For me my apprenticeship was the perfect balance of academic and on the job learning. The apprenticeship workshops gave me the time to focus on particular areas of learning without having to worry about my day to day work responsibilities.
My software development apprenticeship gave me foundation knowledge of what code was exactly, the different languages, and more importantly how to understand what the technical teams were talking about and translate this to customers and non-technical audiences. This was hugely advantageous in my role when attending events and meetings.
My CMDA apprenticeship elevated what I had learned in the workplace managing projects and communicating effectively with colleagues, customers and partners. It taught me to analyse and reflect on who I was as a manager, and how as a leader to get the most out of my team for our customers. For me the experience of meeting others going through similar challenges from other sectors has helped me to learn, adapt and evolve my management style. This has paved the way for me to lead a team who are responsible for large digital transformation projects across the UK and become the MD at Invuse.
How has your career advanced since you completed your apprenticeship?
Since completing my Software Development apprenticeship I’ve been trusted by Invotra to design, build and lead critical customer facing departments throughout the business including our Learning & Development department which helped train customers on our new digital communications product. I also created a training and certification programme for customers to become certified Authors, Editors or Publishers within the product.
I supported the business in the creation of our Account Management and Live Service departments, developing structures to monitor customer satisfaction by introducing a service desk and regular customer check in schedules. These ensured we kept our customers engaged and valued at all times.
The final step in my Invotra Limited journey saw me lead the UK Sales department. Together we built a team that introduced creative ways of attracting new prospects to the business beyond basic cold calling and emails. Over a 2 year period we grew Invotra’s customer base by 200% – the most successful in Invotra’s history.
After building a team of amazing consultants that contributed towards Invotra’s product journey over the years, we wanted to share our experiences and expertise with others beyond our products. Invotra Consulting – now known as Invuse – was born!
I was appointed by the Group Board as General Manager starting with a team of 3 – all of which were apprentices – to lead, grow and establish the new start up in the initial stages. Together we built a brand and a marketing message that we thought at the time was amazing and in the first 12 months we hit our yearly revenue target and built our customer base up to 14 different organisations.
This success saw me appointed as Managing Director and we’ve since continued to hit our financial targets set by the group, have now grown the team to 12 people with a potential 6-8 coming in over the coming months. We’ve continued to experiment with our brand and services and have finally found our place in the digital ecosystem, positioning ourselves as user research and digital accessibility specialists as ‘The voice of your end users’.
In the last 12 months we’ve grown the business from 14 customers to 31 and have partnered with some amazing organisations and initiatives that are making a real difference in creating an inclusive digital experience for everyone. We’re extremely excited for the future, and building our own team of apprentices to take the business forward.
How did Invotra and the apprenticeship scheme here help with that?
Invotra gave me the opportunity to take on roles that most organisations wouldn’t even consider for someone of my age and/or experience. They believed in me and gave me an opportunity to prove myself to them and our customers. They’ve helped me to build and use professional and personal expertise to run a business and help mentor a team of apprentices.
The apprenticeship scheme taught me the key skills I needed and gave me an opportunity to combine classroom learning with office based experiences whilst earning a salary. This meant I could keep up with my friends/family without having to worry about money. Most of all though, the apprenticeship scheme has taught me that hard work and determination can get you anywhere and has introduced me people that I am still connected to today.
What advice would you give to current apprentices/those considering an apprenticeship?
The biggest thing for me was being able to combine on the job training and real life engagement with business people and the opportunity to earn a wage whilst doing so.
For me going to college/university and learning from a soon outdated textbook, never compared to learning in a real-life business. My apprenticeship experience has taken me from software, to becoming MD of Invuse – something I never imagined possible.
Get in touch if you'd like any more information on our apprenticeship scheme, or to discuss your consulting needs.