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Fareham teenager hired over quality of service

Where there’s a Will… there’s a job!

A SCRIBBLED note on a till receipt has led to a promising career with an expanding IT company for a Fareham teenager.

The 19-year-old was manning the till during the final days of trading at Debenhams in Fareham Shopping Centre when Mark Abrams, boss of Interpro Technology Solutions, was out with his family.

Mark was so impressed by the customer service Will Lancaster provided, even though the store was soon to close leaving him unemployed, that he scribbled down his contact details on a till roll.

Will, who lives in Fareham, responded that evening and the upshot was the offer of a role with Interpro as an apprentice, in conjunction with Portsmouth-based PETA Training & Consultancy.

Interpro, based in two units on the Fareham Heights business park since last month after acquiring a second freehold property, provides managed outsourced IT support in and around Portsmouth, Southampton, Fareham and Hampshire

Founded in 2005, the 17-strong company also specialises in websites, servers, networking, hosted telephone systems, software development and broadband solutions across the UK.

Managing Director Mark said: “We were seriously thinking about appointing an apprentice but hadn’t fully formulated our plans when I met Will in Debenhams and realised had a great persona about him and excellent customer service abilities.

“As a company, our ethos at Interpro is that we hold customer service in almost higher regard than technical skills – certainly for someone we are looking to train – so I had no hesitation in giving him my details.

“I was hugely impressed that he followed up quickly, realised he was already registered with PETA as he was considering starting an apprenticeship so we progressed our plans. Will then stood out at interview and got offered the job.

“Ever since he has really taken to it like a duck to water and has already added value to Interpro, making him a real success story. Everybody here loves him. We are very much investing in our future with Will.”

Will, born in Plymouth to Naval parents and part-raised in Gibraltar, has been building PCs, helped with the office move, has started getting into web design and played a big role in the roll-out of Interpro’s security software.

‘I’m very happy that it came about by accident’

He said: “I was considering what to do as a career when I got the amazing opportunity to come here that I couldn’t turn down. I’m very happy that it came about by accident and I am determined to do my very best for Interpro.”

Will, who was educated at Ranvilles Junior School, Fareham Academy and Fareham College, started the first of five courses over 18 months through PETA at the beginning of September.

Latest Government figures, for August 2020 to January 2021,  show there were 161,900 apprenticeship starts. This was a drop of 18 per cent from the same period in 2019/20, with around 36,700 fewer starts.

Interpro, which has just enjoyed its best ever financial quarter, has won new contracts, continues to expand and will shortly be recruiting new staff.

The company boasts 200 clients and works with some of the leading brands on the south coast, including L&S Waste Management, Aquila Air Traffic Management Services, Mary Rose Museum and White Recruitment.

WARM WELCOME: Interpro Technology Solutions Managing Director Mark Abrams with the company’s new apprentice Will Lancaster who was appointed after impressing with his customer service skills