Case Study

Dell

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. 

Requirements

  • 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.

Results

  • 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.

"We identified a significant opportunity to broaden the range of applicants and diversify the talent we bring into our organisation. Our intention was to remove the traditional barrier of needing degree level qualifications to enter our structured sales programmes. Working with Pareto provided the perfect candidates and complimentary apprentice framework to the Dell internal training."

Giulia Hendy, HR Partner Enterprise Sales, Dell

The Solution

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.

Challenge - Ensuring the training addressed the needs of the business and participants. 

  • Before each training session, there was a meeting between the Pareto trainer and Chris Lockwood, Wavin's Branch Development Manager. In these sessions, they went into the details of the training agenda, outlined the objectives, and discussed practical examples directly related to the daily responsibilities of sales professionals at Wavin. 

  • This meticulous planning and coordination were instrumental in ensuring that the training content was precisely aligned with the participants' roles and the specific work environments they encountered with Wavin. 

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.

‘We see Pareto as such a beneficial partner as they are able to create an apprenticeship sales training framework that is tailored to the business’s needs.’ 

Giulia Hendy, HR Partner Enterprise Sales, Dell

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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