razorblue Academy

Apprenticeships have long been an integral part of upskilling the inbound workforce and enabling people to retrain into new industries, but this North East-based Managed Service Provider has created its own technical academy, combining the traditional model with a strategic and industry-specific route to exciting careers.

razorblue has grown exponentially over the last few years and now boasts seven offices, a headcount of over 140, a client base of over 500 which covers the length and breadth of the UK and is on track to hit £12million in turnover this financial year. But one thing that the company finds a challenge, like others in its field, is recruitment.

People Director, Joanne Finkeldey explains: “We focus on finding the right people for the right roles, which is why apprenticeships have been so successful for us – you can teach technical skills but it’s harder to teach attitude and work ethic.

“The sad truth is that in the current job market, apprenticeships can be seen as a way for companies to secure short term, cheaper labour with no guaranteed role at the end – and that is absolutely not what we are about.

“razorblue is investing a significant amount of time and resources into the structure of this academy so that apprentices are nurtured and can be safe in the knowledge that if they put in the work, there is a career for them at the end of it. For us, it is about securing and upskilling those candidates that align with our core values and providing a meaningful career path.”

Focusing their efforts on the local economy, razorblue is partnering with educational institutes directly. This includes Darlington College with plans to extend partnerships with other colleges within the North East, Manchester and Scotland further down the line.

Apprentices spend four days per week in the company’s head office, with a fifth at college. This enables them to experience real-life work and projects hands-on, moving around different departments to gain a deeper understanding of how each integral part of the business works.

The first two apprentices, Simon Chilvers and Mackenzie Monteith have already joined the company through this new academy, and the company is recruiting for a third.

Mackenzie commented, “My first few weeks at razorblue have been amazing, the support I have received is incredible. It makes such a difference working for a company who genuinely wants you to do well and succeed. The team are great, everyone is super helpful and friendly, I don’t think I could have settled in any better. I’m excited for my future with razorblue and to see how much I can learn from this experience.”

Operations Director, David Raper said: “We’re working closely with Darlington College to ensure that all modules of the apprenticeships are covered as well as providing meaningful workplace experiences. Our existing team is on hand to mentor and guide the apprentices and really welcome them to ‘team razorblue’ – we’re about community and long-term growth here, not just as a business but for our people.

“These roles are incremental, we are adding to our existing team which is already made up of several apprentices who have gone on to have exciting journeys with us, and many of our staff have been with us more than five years. Commitment and hard work are rewarded, and this is a fundamental part of our ethos.”

razorblue is actively seeking a third apprentice to join the academy and welcomes expressions of interest from potential candidates both for this vacancy and future ones which come available. See more at