Building Supplies Online has welcomed its first digital marketing apprentice.

Jack Harper will spend two years on the scheme, learning all aspects of ecommerce and digital marketing, both on the job at the online building materials retailer and through formal courses at Leamington Spa College.

At the end of the period, 20-year-old Harper will have achieved accreditations and qualifications from bodies including the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Google.

Head of Marketing Louise Austin said this is part of Building Supplies Online’s plan to address the digital skills gap, as the skills that drive the business are “very specific and not easily sourced”. The company wanted to provide digital marketing expertise and mentorship, while meeting its talent objectives and offer opportunities to young job seekers.

Austin said: “It is important to us as a company to be able to offer local young people credible employment opportunities and help them to develop their talents.

“We consider this initiative a great investment for our collective futures.”

Harper worked for a short time in the catering industry after completing his A-levels, but was drawn to an IT and digital-based job.

He said: “My challenge was to find the right employer to train with – as an older applicant it was harder to find schemes willing to train me because employers receive less financial support for those over 18.

“But Building Supplies Online was specifically looking for motivated, well-qualified applicants, which when combined with their company values and culture, has been transformational.”