How Ricoh have created a strong talent pipeline by making all their junior roles accessible through apprenticeships

April 1 2016

Ricoh recently identified the need to attract fresh talent and new skills into the business, so they decided to make the entry routes into their company as accessible to young people as possible by introducing an initial apprenticeship year for all the roles at their two most junior levels unless a particular requirement of a role means that it is not suitable for an apprentice.

In order to make this model as sustainable as possible, Ricoh only recruit an apprentice when a continuing role is available after the initial training year, so the apprenticeship forms the first step in a structured career path. Ricoh have also introduced a 3 year pay progression structure for employees starting as apprentices to maximise retention of young talent. In the year after their apprenticeship, an employee then receives the Living Wage, then over the next two years they receive six-monthly pay increases until they reach the medium salary for the pay grade of their role, subject to performance.

This initiative was initiated with the full support of Ricoh’s People & CR Director and it was implemented across the organisation after it received Board-level approval. It then took about six months from implementation to embed this new approach as ‘business as usual’, and this was helped significantly by word-of-mouth support from the first group of managers who had taken on apprentices and were hugely impressed by their skills.  

The roles cover all areas of the business, and apprenticeships are available in several frameworks including Business Administration, Customer Service and IT. Ricoh have developed a strong relationship with their training providers to ensure that training remains at a high standard. Their training providers also support with recruiting young candidates, and the training provider for the Business Administration and Customer Service frameworks also seconds a member of staff to Ricoh’s premises one day a week to support with the training.

Following the success of this initiative, Ricoh have also just launched a Traineeship programme to link directly into their Apprenticeship scheme, and they hope to run this 9 week programme four times a year with cohorts of between 8 to 10 young people at a time. Ricoh are working with partners including The Prince’s Trust and Remploy to ensure that these opportunities are highly accessible to candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds, including young people with disabilities as well as ex-offenders.


Ricoh’s new early careers model has now been successfully established, and 54 roles out of an approximate 128 junior roles overall have already been filled through apprenticeships. Ricoh have also managed to make significant savings through the programme and increased their retention rate of young employees. Ricoh have also been working with the local community to communicate the success of the model, and other local employers are now planning to adopt a similar approach.

Top tips for other employers

Ricoh’s tips for other employers considering setting up an apprenticeship scheme are:

  • Take your time to pick the right provider to partner with: their support is invaluable

  • Don’t underestimate how capable apprentices can be – sometimes candidates might appear to lack employability skills to start with, but they soon start to demonstrate their true potential

  • Make sure you match your apprentices with good mentors who can support them to progress in your organisation

Want to find out more about traineeships and apprenticeships?

Visit the Vocational Routes section of our site to find some handy resources on creating traineeships and apprenticeships and key information on the Apprenticeship Levy.