Apprenticeships – What business owners need to know

Have you ever considered bringing in new talent to your business with apprenticeships? Following Labour leader Ed Miliband’s recent pledge to guarantee them for all school leavers who get the grades by 2020, should his party win the general election of course, it’s a subject that’s once again back on the table.
Miliband argued that better training and higher wages were what would be needed to give the work schemes a much-needed overhaul, and suggested that they could play a significant role in boosting productivity and driving the economy forward.

There’s no denying that young people need better opportunities to thrive and fulfill their aspirations, especially in the years following a recession, but what do you, as a business owner, really need to know? Here, we take a look at the considerations you need to make to decide whether apprenticeships are right for your organisation.

What exactly is involved?

  • If you want to bring on an apprentice, you should be aware of the following:
  • Apprentices must be aged 16 or over, and combine working with a work-related qualification – which could be anything from a GCSE right through to a degree
  • Apprentices can be new or current employees
  • You must pay at least minimum wage
  • If you’re in England or Wales, you may be able to get funding

Your apprentice should work alongside experienced members of staff, learn job-specific skills, and be given time during their working week to study, e.g. at a local college

What’s in it for me?

Let’s be honest – before you make any decisions around employing apprentices in your business, you need to fully understand what you can get out of it.

First of all, your new recruits will often be eager to succeed, and can bring a whole load of enthusiasm for your industry and the role. They want to learn, and they want to play a part in helping you to reach your goals. Who, as a business leader, wouldn’t be interested in this type of opportunity?

Many companies find that their apprentices go on to take senior positions in the business, and cultivating your own talent can have a hugely positive impact on your employer brand and your workforce as a whole.

Wondering what impact recruiting apprentices could have on your existing workforce? The anecdotal evidence tends to be strong. Bringing in fresh faces can reinvigorate the workplace dynamic, and encourage employees to really step up to the plate and embrace the changes in your business.

All of this isn’t to say that employing an apprentice will be a walk in the park. It will be a challenge, there’ll be a period of adjustment, and it may cause you to ask yourself serious questions about the way you run your operations, as well as reviewing the bad habits that you’ve fallen into without even realizing it. Savvy leaders realise that this can be a good thing though, and it can really encourage you to sharpen your skills and practices.

What next?

You have a couple of options, and the best choice for you will depend on the size of your business and the resources you have available. Generally speaking, you can either simply employ an apprentice, or you can choose to work with a training provider to develop your own apprenticeship programme.

Employing apprentices isn’t a decision that you should enter into lightly, but it’s something that can be a fantastic strategy for the right businesses. Interested in having a no-obligation discussion about how we could help you make apprenticeships work for you? Then give us a call today to see what the best options are for your business.

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