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Every year apprenticeships are becoming more popular and proving themselves as a great alternative to traditional employment methods.

This has led to a revolution in how apprenticeships work. UK businesses, along with the government, are investing in new ways to develop the skills of their workforce. One clear and simple way to do that is through hiring apprentices.

With the catastrophic impact of coronavirus on the UK economy, the government is placing apprenticeships at the heart of the economic recovery plan.

This can be seen in the number of new schemes and funding made available to businesses like yours.

What exactly are the benefits of employing an apprentice?

  • Cost-Effective

    Unlike other training methods, apprenticeships ensure work continues alongside training. Although the apprentice will spend at least 20% of their work hours off-the-job, the government is working to cover most, if not all, the costs of those training hours. This means that you are getting staff who are both working and constantly improving their skills to assist your business, at no extra cost.

    According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, this is why an apprentice brings an average increase in productivity of at least £10,000 per year, with some sectors being significantly higher.

    If you are taking on an inexperienced candidate for your apprenticeship, you could cut costs even further because the national minimum wage for an apprentice is just £4.15. According to Oxford Economics, the average cost of training a new employee is £25,000. With an apprentice, not only are you reducing your wage bill, your current employees won’t have to divert all their attention towards training the new member of staff, as the apprentice will also be participating in off-the-job training.

    With the economy in crisis and industry moving faster than ever, your business can’t afford to stop being competitive. 77% of employers stating that taking on an apprentice made them more competitive.

  • Refresh Staff Enthusiasm

    Now more than ever experienced employees are feeling unsatisfied with their work. In fact, a recent study found that 47% of people don’t find their career fulfilling. This may be because staff don’t feel challenged, or aren’t excited by the content of their work.

    An increasing number of experienced professionals are looking for a career change at 30, 40 or even 50. Instead of losing some of your best assets, you could offer them an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships aren’t just for school leavers, and you don’t have to join a new company to begin one. An apprenticeship is a great way to bring new skills into your business while ensuring your staff are constantly developing and being challenged.

    Even taking on young or inexperienced apprentices has been shown to increase staff morale. Taking on new staff at the start of their career can diversify and refresh your workplace. 73% of employers said that staff morale was improved as a direct result of taking on apprentices.

  • Adaptable To Suit Your Business

    Unlike other training methods, an apprentice is trained to suit the needs of your business. You can tailor and adapt exactly what your apprentice learns so it’s as relevant to their role as possible.

    This is why 86% of employers believe that their apprentices were integral to filling the skills gap in their businesses. With the economy changing faster than ever, new skills are quickly becoming crucial to business operations. With an apprenticeship, you can adapt your apprentice’s training to suit those ever-adapting needs.

  • Retain Staff

    The average cost of replacing a staff member has been estimated at £30,000 by Oxford Economics.

    With 91% of apprentices staying with their employer upon completion, apprenticeships have become an invaluable option for retaining staff. Additionally, it has been found that staff are significantly more loyal to companies that invest in their personal training and skillset. Taking on an apprentice is an investment in the future potential of your employees, and they know that. This has been found pertinent by Siemens, who stated that the average length of their apprentices’ stay at their company is 26 years!

  • Improve Company Image

    Apprenticeships offer opportunities to those who may have not been able to utilise traditional education and employment channels. For this reason, they are widely recognised as a positive inititiatve for recruitment.

    As such, it has been found that 80% of customers would choose a business over a competitor if they knew they employed apprentices. And, despite the fact apprenticeships are cost-effective, 25% of consumers even stated they would pay more for a product or service if they knew the business employed apprentices.

  • Appropriate For All Ages

    Apprenticeships have changed a lot over recent years, such that they are no longer just a pathway for lower-qualified training. This means there are not only benefits in apprenticeships for 16-year-olds but for adult apprenticeships in the workplace too.

    With the government investing £100m in the National Retraining Scheme just last year, the need for cost-effective ways for you to retrain your staff is widely recognised. By turning your staff into apprentices, you can revolutionise your business.

    If you feel ready to take on an apprentice, start searching for a training provider. And then have a browse of our services, to see how we can support you.

Frequently asked questions

Can you take on an apprentice as a sole trader?2020-10-28T19:25:13+00:00

In the past year, there have been many changes in the way that apprenticeships work. This has significantly improved their overall quality for both apprentice and employer but has meant that the employer must meet specific standards before they can take on an apprentice.

These standards are the same as those met by anyone becoming an employer. As such, if you are a sole trader, you must have an Accounts Office Reference number, which you receive when you sign up to HMRC as an employer. Additionally, you will then need to set up to make PAYE payments to HMRC. Although this may take some time for a first-time employer, it is certainly possible.

If you are a sole trader who does not want to employ anyone else, you can hire an apprentice by using an Apprenticeship Training Agency. This agency will officially employ the apprentice and will arrange training and all other bits of administration, but the apprentice will work in your organisation.

How can an employer hire an apprentice within the UK?2020-10-28T19:25:03+00:00

Employing an apprentice in the UK somewhat depends on the employer type: SME, Large Enterprise or Public Sector. However, all employers now manage their apprenticeships through the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS).

This can seem intimidation for some employers with fewer resources at their disposal, but in reality, their chosen training provider will manage payments and such. This includes accessing any of the funding that your organisation is eligible.

A further question is how to find and get an apprentice. Searching and finding an appropriate candidate is time-consuming, which is why we have set up a jobs board to help connect the best employers to the best candidates across the UK.

How long will an apprenticeship last?2020-10-28T19:16:16+00:00

By definition, apprenticeships in the UK must last at least 12 months but can have a recommended duration of up to six years for degree apprenticeships. In the development of the apprenticeship standards by apprenticeship trailblazers and the government, they agreed that each apprenticeship scheme must involve at least one year’s worth of the combined on-the-job and off-the-job training to receive the minimum qualification.

As the apprentice cannot have previously received any of the training or knowledge to start the apprenticeship, there is no reason for the apprenticeship to last any less than 12 months. However, each apprentice is different, such that it is not uncommon for them to need longer than the minimum duration before being capable of passing the end point assessment.

Apprenticeships can be part-time, which would further extend the duration of the apprenticeship in relation to the reduction in hours per week.

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