Should SMEs Hire Apprentices?

Written by Calvin Bowers

Hiring an apprentice is beneficial for businesses of all sizes. For SME’s, an apprenticeship scheme could be just what your business needs.

The UK economy has taken a dramatic hit as a result of COVID-19, so you’re not alone in searching for solutions. If you are an SME, taking on an apprentice could be your saving grace.

The notion of an apprentice being unable to engage or work is old news; the government and industry experts have modernised apprenticeships such that the benefits in comparison to apprenticeship costs are now extremely favourable.

For clear guidance on how much you could save, head over to our apprenticeship funding rates guide.

How Can Apprentices Benefit a Small Business?

Apprenticeships have been modernised. That means the training has been standardised across the UK and is the result of a thorough development process. This standardisation involved all the key ambassadors in each industry, educational organisations and the government.

This means that SMEs will get just as high-quality candidates and training as the largest organisations. Even better, SMEs will pay less for the same quality apprentices. This is because the government have invested a significant amount into encouraging businesses to take on an apprentice. You can find out about that in our funding guide.

Being an SME, it can often be too expensive to take on a highly qualified professional. By supporting a member of staff to retrain, you can develop a highly qualified professional inhouse at a much lower cost. This is why SMEs are trying to find out the apprenticeship eligibility criteria and the general benefits of an apprenticeship. Even sole traders are searching for how to take on an apprentice, which you can read about here.

What SMEs Need to Know About Hiring an Apprentice

Hiring an apprentice can seem a daunting prospect. That’s why we have developed this site to lay out everything you need to know about hiring an apprentice.

This includes everything from choosing the right apprenticeship for your company, finding the right training provider to deliver that apprenticeship, and then help in discovering the perfect candidate. Taking on an apprentice is, however, mostly the same as taking on a regular employee. If you follow our detailed but clear guidance and support, you will have no issues.

For any support that is particular to you being an SME, see our dedicated guide for SMEs.


What Types of Funding Do Small Businesses Get for Hiring an Apprentice?2022-03-11T16:08:27+00:00

SMEs have access to all the different funding programs offered by the government. The amount you can receive is, however, determined by the age of the apprentice.

If you take on an apprentice before the 31st January 2021, the government could give you a grant of £3,000. That is on top of up to 100% of the training costs for the apprenticeship course. Regardless of the number of employees, the employer always pays for the apprentice’s wages.

Should your company not be eligible to have the government cover of 100% of training costs, you can access a large organisation’s excess Apprenticeship Levy. We have set up the first national Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Service, which allows you to sign up for and apply for other companies’ excess levy.

What is the Minimum Business Size or Turnover for an SME to Hire an Apprentice?2022-03-11T16:43:53+00:00

There is none. Even sole traders can take on an apprentice.

The only restrictions or changes regarding business size or turnover come in the amount of funding you can access from the government, or if your business has to pay into the Apprenticeship Levy.

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Last Updated: Thursday August 4 2022
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