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Every year young and adult apprenticeships are evolving into the preferred alternative against high-risk traditional employment methods. This has led to a revolution in how apprenticeships work because both businesses and the government are investing in new ways to develop the skills of their workforce, with the most obvious answer being to recruit an apprentice.

With the potentially catastrophic impact of coronavirus on the UK economy, the government is placing their bets on apprenticeships being part of our solution. This can be seen by the vast number of new schemes and funding being made available to businesses like yours.

What exactly are the benefits of employing an apprentice?

  • Cost-Effective

    Wondering how much an apprentice will cost you as an employer? When the following is taken into account, it comes to even less than a normal employee.

    Unlike other training methods, apprenticeships keep the member of staff working while they train. 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 contraction and industry moving faster than ever, your business can’t afford to stop being competitive. With 77% of employers stating that taking on an apprentice made them more competitive, it is an opportunity you can’t afford to miss.

  • Refresh Staff Enthusiasm

    More and more experienced employees are feeling unsatisfied with their current employment. This loss of enthusiasm is the result of staff feeling they are no longer being challenged or excited by their jobs, reflected by 47% of people not finding their careers fulfilling.

    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, offer them an adult apprenticeship that both challenges and excites your staff, whilst increasing the skillset of your business.

    Even taking on young or inexperienced apprentices has been shown to increase staff morale. Taking on fresh and energetic staff for lower costs will diversify and refresh your workplace. This is proven by 73% of employers saying that staff morale was improved as a direct result of taking on apprentices.

  • Adaptable To Suit Your Business

    Unlike other training methods, where a separate institution teaches a set curriculum, an apprentice is trained to suit the needs of your business. You can tailor and adapt exactly what your apprentice learns so it is as appropriate to the job 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, every year there will be skills you never thought you needed suddenly becoming crucial to the operation of your business. With an apprenticeship, you can adapt your apprentices 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 the economy getting more and more competitive every year, the ability of your business to retain staff has become an integral component for survival.

    With 91% of apprentices staying in the job role 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. 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 the traditional education and employment channels. For this reason, they are widely recognised as a positive thing a company could do.

    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 a growing importance in 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 as being essential. By turning your staff into apprentices, you can revolutionise your business.

    For local assistance on how to take on an apprentice click here. If you feel ready to take on an apprentice, click here to find a training provider.

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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