Nowadays, more and more young people are looking for apprenticeships instead of going to higher or further education.
Due to the large numbers of people applying, employers now have plenty of choice when it comes to finding the right fit for their company. Apprentices are beneficial to employers for several reasons. Keep reading to find out the ways an apprentice could be beneficial to your organisation.
What is an Apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship refers to a job that offers the development of skills, and on-the-job training at the same time. It is seen as a good way of training a new generation of practitioners in a trade or profession and it can also enable practitioners to gain a license to practice in a regulated profession.
It is one route for people over 16 years of age to earn whilst learning the required skills for a successful future in work.
Businesses of all sizes and from all sectors can sign up to take on an apprentice in England for a minimum of a year and a maximum of 5 years. Employing an apprentice leads to a better skilled and more motivated workforce, and a higher productivity rate.
Why should you hire an Apprentice?
Apprenticeships are not only beneficial for the company but also for the apprentices. While you as an employer may get a skilled workforce by hiring apprentices, they will get training, a career path and even a permanent job in your company out of it. Since they are new to the company, they come along with new ideas that may change the course of your business. Moreover, their presence energises the existing workforce, augmenting overall productivity.
One really big incentive to taking on an apprentice is that you can mould the person you are training to be a good fit for your company. You can train them in the ways your organisation runs, rather than taking on a ready trained employee who may well come with their own ways of doing things that don’t work in your business.
There are also financial benefits to taking on an apprentice since as an employer, you can get help from the government in the form of apprenticeship finance to help pay for your apprentices. Therefore, if you have a growing business, hiring an apprentice can be a great, financially manageable way to grow your workforce. The amount you could get depends on whether you pay the apprenticeship levy or not. The levy is due if you pay over £3 million each year as an employer. The minimum wage for an apprentice is £3.70 an hour which means they are less expensive than other members of the workforce. However, if you are planning to hire an apprentice just for cheap labour, then you should reconsider your plans. This is not a good reason for hiring an apprentice.
The Process of Employing an Apprentice
You cannot hire an apprentice and ask them to take on any role you design for them. They must be working for a well-defined qualification. Therefore, the first thing to look for is an apprenticeship framework which is relevant to your industry or business.
Once you have done this, the second step is to search for a training organisation that can support you. They will help you with delivering the required training for your apprentices to pass their assessments and gain their qualifications. They will also aid you with the hiring by advertising the role. However, you must be ultimately responsible for the recruitment by conducting interviews and selecting apprentices.
Pros of Hiring an Apprentice
If you are falling short of ideas, new apprentices can help you out by providing fresh new thinking that may prove beneficial for your company. Unlike university students, apprentices are more focused on the business and more motivated to understand the sector and give their best to it. An average apprentice increases productivity by approximately £214 a week, which is higher than their actual wages. The new member of staff is more easily adaptable to changes as compared to an older one, who might be more rigid in their thinking and ways of doing things. Approximately, 96% of employers report benefits from apprentices to their companies. There are more than 400 various types of apprenticeships that cover all kinds of sectors. Hence, you get the choice of what qualification and apprentice you want. If an employer hires an apprentice, they may be eligible for a £1,500 VAT free grant. You may receive up to 5 grants in total.
Is Employing an Apprentice Right for your Business?
It is only worth employing apprentices if you make use of them in the right manner. If you wish to only use your apprentice to perform very small, menial tasks, then you should not be employing an apprentice. Since they are young minds with a lot of energy, you must unearth their talents and give them the full benefit of your experience. Treating them like other employees can provide you with loyal staff that you can rely on in the long-term.
You must also be in a position to guide and mentor your apprentice. Since this is possibly their first job or they may only have limited working experience, they might not be able to manage time properly and may struggle with things like organisation and self confidence. You need to be able to dedicate a sufficient amount of time to teaching them the job.
Wages and Conditions
The minimum wage applies to apprentices too. They must also be given a proper contract of employment like other employees. Not only that, but you will also have to support them by providing them with the time for their studies. And even during these study hours, you must pay them.
In addition to all this, they are given the right to the same benefits as any other employee. These benefits include holidays, sick pay and any additional benefits that you offer such as mentoring schemes and childcare vouchers. They must be treated completely equally to other employees except for the allowance to study during work hours.