How Berkeley Group transformed apprenticeship hiring with blind recruitment and CV-free applications

4 minute read

Posted by Emily Hill on 3 July 2024

Berkeley Group, a leading property developer and house-builder, used ThriveMap’s pre-hire assessment tools to help implement a blind recruitment process for their apprenticeship scheme. The new approach helped to improve diversity, avoid hiring bias, and ensure candidates with the most potential were selected.

We spoke with Catherine Hawkett, their Group Future Skills Manager, to learn more about how and why they implemented a blind recruitment process and chose ThriveMap’s pre-hire assessment tools.

Q: Why did Berkeley Group implement a blind recruitment process?

A: The construction industry has a diversity problem. Only 11% of the workforce are women, and just 5% come from Black, Asian, or ethnic minority backgrounds. This is why it was crucial that we ensured our process was fair and inclusive.

Historically we used CVs, but since most applicants were 16 or 17 years old with limited experience, CVs couldn’t predict future performance and could potentially also disadvantage candidates who hadn’t had access to certain opportunities yet – such as work experience.

I knew that pre-hire assessment tools could be more effective in objectively comparing entry-level candidates based on their potential. So, I sought a bespoke Realistic Job Assessment as this would have the added benefit of bringing the actual role to life for candidates while assessing their skills and suitability.

“I wanted an immersive, realistic experience that would bring the apprenticeship scheme to life. This approach helps improve conversion rates throughout the recruitment process.”

Q: How does the apprenticeship application process work now?

A: There’s no requirement to submit a CV.

Applicants now fill out a short application form focusing on their eligibility to become an apprentice. This ensures that only eligible candidates proceed to the ThriveMap assessment.

Eligible candidates are then sent a link to the ThriveMap assessment. This is a custom-branded portal that immerses candidates in realistic day-in-the-life scenarios that helps them to decide whether or not the role would suit them.

Candidates who perform the best in the assessment are then invited to the next stage in the recruitment process. It saves a lot of time calling candidates who are not committed and I now have a lot more time to focus on strategy and improvement. 

“I now have a lot more time to focus on strategy and improvement.”

Q: How does the ThriveMap assessment compare to previous tools you used?

A: In my last role, we used Situational Judgement Tests. ThriveMap’s assessment has some similarities, but I would say ThriveMap’s approach is more practical and realistic as the assessment really helps candidates to understand the realities of the role so this reduces the candidate expectation gap.

Unlike generic assessment tools, ThriveMap’s assessment also helps draw candidates in by showcasing the apprenticeship program and our company culture.

“Realistic pre-hire assessments help to reduce the candidate expectation gap, reducing attrition post-hire.”

Q: Why did you choose ThriveMap?

A: ThriveMap fits perfectly with what we were trying to achieve. Generic assessments often feel impersonal and fail to engage candidates. I wanted a two-way process where candidates could learn about our culture and the tasks they would perform. ThriveMap facilitated this, making the recruitment process informative and engaging for applicants.

“An informative and engaging process for applicants.”

Q: How have you found working with ThriveMap?

A: The ThriveMap team has been highly responsive and supportive. I had many questions and requests for changes, and they always responded quickly and effectively.

“ThriveMap have been responsive and supportive.”

Q: What’s next for ThriveMap in your recruitment process?

A: Our focus will be on maturing the process. With over six months of data on apprentice performance, we plan to cross-reference this with assessment results to refine the process and assessment questions further. It would also be good to develop specific assessments for each apprenticeship scheme.


Berkeley Group’s innovative approach to apprenticeship recruitment, in partnership with ThriveMap, not only addresses the need for a diverse workforce but also helps attract new talent to the sector.

By implementing a blind recruitment process and using a bespoke skills-based assessment, we have created a fairer, faster, and more engaging candidate experience. This forward-thinking strategy ensures that Berkeley Group attracts and nurtures the best talent, securing the future skills needed for our continued success. 


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About ThriveMap

ThriveMap creates customised assessments for high volume roles, which take candidates through an online “day in the life” experience of work in your company. Our assessments have been proven to reduce staff turnover, reduce time to hire, and improve quality of hire.

Not sure what type of assessment is right for your business? Read our guide.

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