Case Study


Building an Alternative Talent Pipeline through Untapped Talent

Already having an established and highly successful graduate programme for over 15 years, Dell wanted a non-graduate apprentice programme to run alongside this as an alternative and innovative way of building their talent pipeline and bringing previously untapped candidates into the workforce.


  • Develop an apprenticeship assessment and training programme for Dell's public sector team as a complementary talent source to the graduate programme.
  • Build on Dell’s Environmental, Social, and Governance programme by extending further opportunities to early career talent and working to reshape perceptions of apprentices as a suitable source of talent for Dell.
  • Integrate apprentices into the sales organisation to learn from the ground up. Provide them with an onward career path that could lead them to any level of the organisation while providing a steady talent source for the organisation's future needs.


  • The first apprentices were in May 2023, and there was an initial 18-month readiness expectation, but within 6 months, the apprentices exceeded expectations.
  • Partnership with Pareto is seen as an effective talent pipeline for Dell's future business requirements.
  • Continued strong performance will enable Dell to accelerate the apprentices onto a commission-based structure sooner than planned.
  • Dell's apprenticeship programme offers a stable, long-term career with opportunities for progression and specialisation.
  • Funding was secured for another four apprentices due to the success of the initial cohort.

Developing a New Talent Pipeline of Candidates

Dell is a global technology leader dedicated to enhancing lives through its extraordinary capabilities. Dell's influence extends worldwide from innovative hybrid cloud solutions and high-performance computing to impactful social initiatives and sustainability endeavours.

After establishing a partnership with Pareto, Dell used their 2023 apprenticeship funding to create a specific apprentice programme for their public sector sales team. For many years, Dell focussed on their graduate programme to provide early career talent for their sales teams However, with the expansion of suitable frameworks under the UK government apprentice programmes, and specifically the Pareto sales programmes, Dell saw it as a perfect pairing to explore how this talent could be utilised within the organisation.

The programme aimed to address some misconceptions about apprentices. There was a concern that apprentices might be perceived as lacking the knowledge, "life skills," and maturity commonly associated with graduates.

Additionally, Dell wanted to ensure a smooth integration of apprentices into the sales organisation to minimise the risk of challenges and failures during their onboarding process. The goal was to create a supportive environment for apprentices to transition seamlessly into their roles within the company.

The Solution

Supported an Internal Assessment Centre

Challenge: To ensure Dell received professional support to select the strongest candidates from the available talent pool.

  • Dell ran an internal assessment centre in April 2023 for the apprentice program, which was led by their UK talent team and supported by Pareto, who were on the recruitment panel helping identify strong applicants. 

  • There were ten attendees for the assessment, with four apprenticeship places available.

Apprenticeship Onboarding Programme

Challenge: Integrate the apprentices into the sales department

  • After the assessment, four suitable apprentices were found and joined the company officially in May 2023. 

  • Pareto implemented a tailored Sales Executive Level 4 apprenticeship designed to equip apprentices with the essential skills and behaviours to succeed in their roles and facilitate seamless integration within the sales department. Examples of learning areas include - customer engagement, sales planning and preparation, collaboration and teamwork, and customer experience management. 

Provided Off-site Experiences

Challenge: Provide a broad range of experiences and environments to aid the apprentices’ learning.

  • As part of their Sales Executive Level 4 apprenticeship, Pareto organises off-site sessions where apprentices collaborate with peers from other companies. 

  • This helped to broaden their perspectives, enabling them to see beyond Dell's specific context. 

  • This gave apprentices valuable experience and a more comprehensive understanding of the industry.

The Results

Dell enrolled its first cohort of apprentices for the Sales Executive Level 4 apprenticeship in May 2023 with the initial expectation that they would be fully prepared for their roles in approximately 18 months. However, after just 6 months, these apprentices demonstrated considerable readiness and could already handle a subset of their future responsibilities. Due to this unexpected fast progression, Dell now sees apprentices as a valuable talent source for its future organisational needs.

‘For Dell, we very much see our partnership with Pareto and the apprenticeship programme as an effective talent pipeline for the future needs of the business.’ 
Giulia Hendy, HR Partner, Dell

Furthermore, given their strong performance, Dell intends to move apprentices to a commission-based structure sooner than planned. This adjustment is aimed at recognising the excellent work they are doing. 

What now makes Dell's apprenticeship programme attractive is the opportunity for a stable, long-term career within the company. Apprentices can progress within the sales channel, move into leadership roles, or specialise without seeking opportunities outside of Dell, it makes no difference if team members have a degree or have come from the apprentice route in terms of how far they can progress in the organisation.

Given the success of the initial apprentices, Dell has secured additional funding for another four apprentices and foresees the potential for more in the future.

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