CEO Chris McClellan Talks Internships
In 2013 we launched the RAM Foundation, a ‘giving back’ initiative designed to support local and national charities with the provision of asset tracking, in the hope of maximising publicity and increasing donations. However an area of our business which has been less publicised in recent years is that of our passion to develop and grow our employees, as well as offer practical work experience placements and/or internships to aspiring youngsters. So we asked our CEO Chris McClellan, more about what is now referred to as the RAM Academy…
Tell us more about the RAM Academy?
The idea of work experience is something which I have always supported and the last 5 years have seen numerous students through our doors seeking to learn more about the business and understand areas in which they might like to direct their future careers. We were all students once and I believe giving people a chance to prove their abilities and providing a platform for personal and professional growth is something which I have always sought to do for every one of our employees. Over the years students have spent anywhere from one week with us, to three months and in some instances continuous part time employment whilst completing their education. Undertaking placements in departments from Sales to Marketing through to Technical Development.
Why did you decide to support such an initiative?
It all began quite unintentionally really. In 2010 I was approached by my old secondary school to judge a Dragons Den style competition, whereby entrepreneurial students pitched ideas to myself and fellow business owners such as Carl Hopkins and Sharon Cain. At the time our business was rapidly growing and we now had the capacity and resources to help develop young talent. The competition reminded me of the entrepreneurial spirit I possessed at that stage in my life and how much I had taken from my part time roles whilst still studying. I believe it gives youngsters heightened understanding of the real business world, a perspective which nowadays is simply invaluable.
What is it for RAM Tracking?
Talented people! Don’t be under the illusion that every intern you take is one you’d be keen to offer a permanent role to, but we’ve had many intelligent, hardworking and most importantly willing to learn individuals. A breath of fresh air, they have thrown themselves into their work and produced some excellent results, proving to be real asset during their time with us. In my eyes this is invaluable and you just never know what talent you might discover or what impact that person could have on the future success of your business.
Share with us some true stories of success?
All placements are successful, as it is both a learning curve for our teams and the individual themselves. Let’s not forget this is about giving back after all! But yes - there have been some individuals who have shone through.
Andrew Galley joined our team during the summer of 2011, before he was due to move to Wales to begin his degree in Law. Every year thereafter Andrew would return to us in the holidays, supporting our sales team and gaining valuable work experience.
In addition our Strategic Business Development Manager, Amy Russell who oversees our operational marketing, focusing on customer acquisition and retention strategies began her career at RAM in 2012 as an intern and assistant to our then Marketing Manager. Amy quickly excelled and just a few months later, after completing her University studies, we offered her a full time position.
What does the future hold for the RAM Academy?
The possibilities are endless. This summer alone we’ve welcomed three interns, two of which are currently studying at my former secondary school and approached Amy after she visited the sixth form to host a presentation about employability and personal branding. We’ve in fact worked with a number of local schools and Universities by hosting guest lectures and taking one off Business Studies lessons, offering the pupils an insight into the business world.
Would you encourage fellow CEO’s to do the same?
Without a doubt! Our placement success stories have helped support the changing dynamics of our business and as I said, you can never quite predict the success which may follow. Younger people are full of enthusiasm and easy to mould, as well as having a fresh take on business practices and often a sound grip of our technology driven world.