Employing an apprentice can be a big step for a business, and some are put off by what looks like an intimidating process, but the benefits of having an enthusiastic young apprentice are well worth engaging with Government bureaucracy for.
Benefits of Employing an Apprentice
Most young apprentices are just leaving school or college and what they lack in experience, they can more than make up for with youthful enthusiasm and vigour. Having someone come in to work for you without the preconceived notions that many more experienced people have can lead to problems being identified and workflows being streamlined.
If you have always done things a particular way and more experienced employees are used to coming in and slotting in to the system, they might not notice the inefficiencies. Young enthusiastic apprentices who are always asking questions and are approaching the work with fresh eyes have a much better chance of identifying opportunities for improving working practices.
Apprenticeships are also the perfect way to bridge skills gaps that exist in many areas. It can be hard to recruit people with the necessary skills so being able to train a malleable and willing apprentice in the exact skills that you require can be an absolute god-send for many businesses.
Younger people as a demographic group also tend to have much stronger skills and aptitude with technology than the previous generation so they may be able to add this skillset to the mix as well, which can bring a multitude of benefits to your company. They may even be able to explain how to utilise some systems better and persuade some of the older members of the team to switch to more productive ways of working.
As apprenticeships tend to last for around two to three years, you will be able to encourage and develop those skills over an extended period of time. All being well, you may be in a position to offer them a paid position at the end of the apprenticeship and that would mean a fully trained and skilled worker who is proficient in your area of expertise.
Financial Incentives for Employing an Apprentice
The Government wants to encourage more people into successful work and education and it sees apprenticeships as an excellent bridge between both of those goals. They are therefore extremely supportive of apprenticeships and provide a range of financial incentives to encourage employers to employ an apprentice.
Employers are paid £1,000 to support their apprentices and funding is provided by the Government to pay for their training as well. This differs between different apprenticeships and training options and should be something that you investigate before going any further. This is something that you can discuss with your chosen training provider.
In 2021 there was an extra £3,000 offered per apprentice taken on but that was merely to kickstart the hiring of apprenticeships after Covid and is no longer available.
In order to begin work on your apprenticeship scheme you should create an account at the UK Government’s Manage Apprenticeships website. From here you can manage information relating to your apprenticeship as well as gain access to funding, approve training costs and give training providers the ability to take on some of the tasks on your behalf, if you wish. You can also arrange to advertise apprenticeships through their portal and set up and approve apprentices on the system.
Choosing the Right Apprentice Training
It is important that you find a training provider who has experience in providing relevant training to people in your field of work. The UK Government’s Find Apprenticeship Training portal is aimed at employers in this position and can help to guide you through the process of selecting an organisation to provide the coursework aspect of your apprenticeship.
It is important to choose the right duration and level of study for the apprenticeship and this is something that you can discuss with the training providers. Be sure to check out what other employers say about the different organisations and find any feedback you can from apprentices about them as well as this can help to make an informed decision.
Training Your Apprentice
There are two different types of training that will be provided to your apprentice throughout the course of their apprenticeship. These are “on the job” training and “off the job” training. We have broken down what each of these entails.
“On the Job” Training
This is the portion of training provided by your company in which the apprentice is learning how to do the job and is developing their skills at hands-on tasks, under appropriate supervision.
“Off the Job” Training
The “off the job” training is the portion that is undertaken by the training provider and includes study toward the relevant qualification that was selected at the start of the process. This will make up 20% in total of their working hours and they must be paid as normal during the time they are undertaking this training.
All apprentices have an End-Point Assessment (EPA) to look at the skills and knowledge that they have developed throughout the apprenticeship period. This will be done by an outside organisation and a register of approved and accredited End-Point Assessment Organisations (EPAOs) can be found on the UK Government website.
You will need to make contact with the organisation first yourself and agree a price for the assessment. Your training provider should then contract with them on your behalf, not more than three months from the start of the apprenticeship.
The assessment can include several different steps and the methods of doing this can include a combination of a project, a presentation, a written or multiple-choice test and an interview. It is worth discussing and agreeing with the EPAO in advance what the format of the evaluation is going to be, so that you can let your apprentice know what kind of preparation they need to do in order to get the best possible outcome.
Further Reading on the Subject
At Employing an Apprentice, we have a number of useful factsheets that can help to give you more in-depth information, including the benefits of employing an apprentice, how to access funding, finding a training provider, End Point Assessments and more.
If you feel that you are ready to take on an apprentice, you can advertise your vacancy on our specialised apprenticeship jobs board.