Bar Hill based reprographics and managed print solutions company, Automated Systems Ltd (ASL) has enhanced business performance and provided a unique range of learning opportunities with their successful and ongoing apprenticeship programme.

In April 2012, ASL Ltd made a decision to introduce additional business resources and also provide opportunities for people looking to develop their careers and gain qualifications. The government-backed National Apprenticeship Scheme enables the company to offer training in all areas of their business including administration, customer service, finance, engineering and warehousing.

With new apprentices recruited on average of every six months, trainees have made a positive impact on the ASL workplace. With their enthusiasm and overall interest in learning, they have contributed to increased customer service levels and also motivated existing staff to consider gaining qualifications and developing their skills.

Paul Derry, Sales Director at ASL feels apprenticeships help drive the business forward, explaining: “Apprenticeships enable our business to grow its skills base because the range of courses available is vast. Not only are we recruiting apprentices to help business growth, our current employees are embarking on higher level apprenticeships to develop their skills and gain further qualifications.”

ASL is currently working with Cambridge Regional College to provide the learning opportunities and to support the candidates. As the employer, ASL provide the specific training and work experience relevant to the role, with the College ensuring that the candidate has the required numeracy, English and ICT functional skills.

ASL currently has three apprentices who are in the early stages of their course, one in administration working towards an NVQ in Customer Service; one in the finance department studying towards an AAT Accounting qualification and one in the workshop working towards a City & Guilds ICT qualification. Both the Accounting and ICT courses involve day release to Cambridge Regional College, which ASL fully supports. On successful completion of an apprenticeship, ASL considers the longer term prospects and wherever possible offers permanent employment.

The Apprenticeship Scheme provides fully funded training, giving the apprentices career opportunities and ASL the skills to move the business forward. Paul says: “ASL fundamentally supports the Apprenticeship Scheme as it gives individuals the opportunity to train and obtain a qualification whilst in the workplace and provides the business with the skills needed.”

Sales administrator, Slavka Stofova, who has just complete her apprenticeship with an NVQ in Business Administration at ASL and is now a permanent employee, agrees: “When I first moved to UK eight years ago, my English was limited and for the first five or six years I worked in Childcare whilst I improved my English as my lack of experience in an office environment made it difficult to find even entry level positions. This Apprenticeship with ASL has allowed me to get my foot in the door and start my career in Office Administration. It was the best decision I have ever made”.


ASL are one of the UK’s leading independent document resellers, supplying and managing print, copy & scan solutions from world leading manufacturers. The company is based in Cambridge with offices in the Midlands, London and Milton Keynes employing 100 staff and looking after around 5000 customers across the UK. For more information, call 0345 207 7000 or visit

Find out more about the National Apprenticeship Scheme at

Photo: Successful ASL apprentices Charlie Fordham, Slavka Stofova, James Paterson, Jordan Avis, Samuel Hinchliffe.