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EM3’s skills partner offers sound advice on what employers want from applicants

Last updated 02 October 2023
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Communication skills, courtesy and customer focus are among the qualities employers are looking for, according to the AA, which is partnering with EM3 and schools to help future workers.

The Basingstoke-based Automobile Association, has signed up to EM3’s Enterprise Adviser Network and the company’s Early Careers Business Partner, Kelly Canfield, is the designated Enterprise Adviser.

Kelly, who is responsible for the strategic implementation of apprenticeships across the company, supports nearby Brighton Hill Community School. She has attended careers fairs, given insights and this month Year 9s will be making a visit to her workplace.

She has sound advice for any would-be apprentices, saying:

We’re customer-facing and across the board we’re looking for good communicators, courtesy and politeness, treating everybody as a customer.

We also need people who can work within a team, as collaboration and team-working are greatly important across the AA. We’re looking for people who can make the impossible happen and who have a positive approach to overcoming obstacles.

With Kelly’s support the number of apprentices in the organisation is rising. She said:

Apprenticeships are relatively new to the AA but the appetite is really growing.

We have three Apprenticeship routes; Customer Service, Back Office and Patrol Apprenticeships and have over 100 Early Career apprentices within the AA.

People are seeing the benefit and what to the organisation they have enthusiasm, passion and an appetite for learning. More and more senior leaders and managers from within the AA are coming to me and asking for an apprentice.


Kelly is also supporting careers services to ensure young people have skills employers need.

She said:

I wanted to get involved for my own benefit, to do some primary research in terms of what’s going on in schools, and what education and skills they’re bringing forward that would be helpful to employers.

I also wanted to give back some of my own knowledge to the Enterprise M3 skills team, for example, around what candidates applying to the AA are really good at, or what’s missing. I want to understand the current challenges schools are under in terms of supporting careers and employment skills and how I can help.

From 1 April 2024, the responsibility for LEP functions across the Enterprise M3 LEP region has transferred to Hampshire County Council and Surrey County Council.

The Enterprise M3 Board met for the last time in March 2024 and Enterprise M3 LEP is no longer operating as an organisation.

For any enquiries relating to economic development across the counties of Hampshire and Surrey, please visit the Hampshire County Council website and Business Surrey respectively.

Please note that Enterprise M3 LEP staff have transferred to Hampshire County Council to continue to deliver services and activities in Hampshire, including the Growth Hub, the Careers Hub, work on key business sectors, and trade and investment.  

They can be contacted by emailing and respectively. Alternatively, please contact the

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