Case Studies

Megan Neacy: Retail Apprentice

Apprenticeships in Retail are becoming a much more popular way for shops and retail outlets in Suffolk to hire young enthusiastic staff members. In addition, they are an excellent way of up-skilling new staff in some of the nuances of the retail trade.

One such retail outlet is Déja Vu Boutique located in Ipswich. The charismatic business owner, Mandy Errington, has been providing Ipswich with a unique range of quality apparel and accessories for the past 4 and a half years. Ideally placed close to the town centre, Déja Vu offers a range of niche labels and individual styles not typically found on the high street. The store has now built up a range that provides catwalk style at pocket friendly prices and this unique approach has put the store firmly on the map.

As part of her leading business approach, Mandy offers apprenticeship opportunities to aspiring young retailers in Ipswich.  As Mandy herself said, 

“I see apprentices as the future of the business, bringing with them fresh ideas, new vision and an ability to diversify and entice a younger customer base.  I also feel that we have a lot to offer them in return.”

The current Déjà Vu apprentice is 20 year old Megan Neacy.  Megan has some experience of art, design and beauty, having studied it whilst at school and college.  In the beginning, she found it hard to find a job that provided the creative retail opportunity that she was looking for.  After initially working as an Apprentice in Telesales, she later discovered the advertised Retail Apprenticeship with Déjà Vu, which she then applied for.  After a successful interview, which demonstrated her enthusiasm for creativity and fashion, she was offered the position.  Since then, Megan has not looked back.  As Megan herself says;

"I'm finding the apprenticeship beneficial because it's helping me to learn all the different aspects of the retail industry.  I also aim to complete my apprenticeship as quickly as possible, as I really enjoy the job and look forward to what the future in retail might hold."

If you want to know more about hiring or becoming an apprentice within Suffolk, then give the Business Development Team at Suffolk New College a call on 01473 382915.  The College is one of the largest training providers for apprenticeships within East Anglia and offers a wide range of flexible apprenticeship training that meets the needs of local employers.

Financial Help

Did you know you could receive a contribution towards the cost of funding an apprentice? A government grant can be offered to fund your apprentice if your business or your apprentice meet certain criteria. The funding is intended to support businesses that might otherwise not be able to employ an apprentice. 

For apprentices aged 16-18 the full training costs are covered and for those aged 19 and over a contribution may be made towards this, depending on certain criteria. Any funding for these costs is paid directly to the training provider. If the employer is also providing the formal study then funding can also be received to cover the cost of the qualification. Employers are always responsible for the apprentice's wage.

AGE Grant

The Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) is a government initiative designed to get more small businesses to take on apprentices. It is a grant of £1,500 paid directly to the employer. 

To apply for this grant an employer should meet the below conditions;

must be a small employer (less than 50 staff)

the apprentice must be aged 16-24

the employer must not have employed an apprentice in the last 12 months

This Grant can be claimed for up to 5 new Apprenticeship starts. The Grant program is scheduled to end by 31st December 2016, although this may be renewed, so check this page periodically for updates.

If you have any further queries please contact us;

Apprenticeships Team – 01473 382464


Or call the National Apprenticeship Service on 08000 150 600.