Apprenticeship schemes actually originate from the Middle Ages. Master craftsmen were allowed to employ a young person as an inexpensive option of labour.
Since then, there’s been a huge evolution in how apprenticeship schemes work and the way that they are perceived.
According to gov.uk, 491,300 young people started an apprenticeship between 2016 and 2017, with 24.6% of them aged 19 and under.
However, the number of apprentices is merely a drop in the ocean when you consider that there are over 5.5 million private sector businesses in the UK.
So, why aren’t more businesses hiring apprentices? As an employer, you’ve probably considered implementing an apprenticeship scheme before. Did you decide not to?
Perhaps you feel the concept is outdated? Or you’d simply prefer to hire an experienced worker? Maybe you’re still thinking about it?
Well, this week, I thought I’d write a little bit about why we hire apprentices at our business.
1. Financial benefits
Financially, hiring apprentices can help your business to prosper in the short and long term. For starters, the government offer contributions towards apprenticeship training.
The amount depends on which country you are based in and whether your pay bill exceeds £3 million every year.
If your pay bill is below the said figure, you’ll only have to pay 10% towards the cost of training and assessing your apprentices, with the government making up the remaining 90%.
If you are over the £3 million threshold, you’ll need to pay the levy and the government will add 10%. You can find out more about this here.
As well as saving money, apprenticeship schemes can also help you profit too.
According to the National Apprenticeship Service, business productivity averages a £11,128 increase per year for every apprenticeship completion.
So if you opted to employ a group of apprentices, the total sum of profits could significantly influence the outcome of your annual turnover.
Furthermore, a report from 2015 by the Centre for Economics and Business Research revealed that consumers prefer to do business with a company that employs apprentices, equating to an additional £18 billion in spending.
2. Introduce a fresh approach to your business
I know experience is important for some roles in a business. And hiring someone without any whatsoever can feel a little bit of a risk.
But there are definitely benefits to hiring someone straight out of education.
By hiring an apprentice, you have the ability to gain a key insight into the new generation. This is essential in today’s competitive marketplace.
While they may be green in terms of experience, their youthful exuberance and willingness to learn can inject a fresh dynamic into your business.
Employees that have worked in an industry for a long time may find it harder to adapt and come up with new innovations and ways of working. They’ve already built opinions, ideas and thoughts.
You’d be surprised how some who is on the outside looking in, can bring a whole world of new ideas. In contrast, someone who is within might struggle to see things from a different viewpoint.
I have personally seen this first-hand at our business.
3. Recruitment and training made easy
If you don’t have a specialist training team for your apprentices in place, the training, qualification and assessment aspects can be handled by a training provider.
Whether this is an independent business or in association with a local university or college.
The training provider will help young apprenticeships obtain core skills required in your workplace and improve any necessary subject areas. They also give them the chance to work towards a nationally recognised vocational qualification.
This kind of structure will mean your business can work side by side with the training provider to ensure the apprentices are getting the most out of the scheme.
As a result, the apprentices should feel valued and will get the support they need, without your employees having to worry about it too much.
4. Shape the new generation
One of the most satisfying reasons for hiring apprentices is the active role your business can play in developing and nurturing the next generation.
This in turn, plays an integral part in driving the future of the economy by creating more skilled employees within your industry.
You’ll also get the pick of the best young talent. Apprenticeship schemes usually attract local employees as well, so you’ll be able to build a close-knit environment to help improve staff retention and satisfaction levels.
In fact, research revealed that 89% of apprentices were satisfied with their scheme, with 97% of them stating that their ability to do the job had improved.
5. We can vouch for it
Here at Coburg Banks, we’re proud to work with Key Training to offer apprenticeships within our admin, marketing and IT teams.
As a business, offering these opportunities has undoubtedly improved the way we work and helped form a strong working environment.
Our case studies
Marketing Assistant, Katy Madden, completed our apprenticeship scheme and quickly established herself as an indispensable member of our team.
“The good thing about my apprenticeship was that I was given a professional working role but I didn’t feel as under pressure as I probably would have if it had been a permanent job role.
As well as being able to work in a professional environment, I was also gaining a qualification and now have my Business Administration Level 2 certificate, so that’s great since I could work and study simultaneously.”
During this admin placement, Katy’s hard work and skills were soon recognised. Subsequently, she was offered a full-time job on the marketing team as Marketing Assistant.
“It was difficult as a school leaver trying to get a full-time job since everyone wants experience but no one gives you the chance to get it.
My apprenticeship really opened a lot of doors in that respect. I genuinely never thought I’d end up working in marketing by the end of my qualification, but I love it!”
Our (now full-time) Administrator, Laura Wood, concurred with Katy’s thoughts, saying:
“Apprenticeships are a great way to kick-start your future career with endless opportunities maximising your potential!
It helps to create the foundation needed for your long-term career.”
Another benefit of using an apprenticeship scheme is the opportunity for young adults to get paid for acquiring a qualification.
Our Resourcer, Eamon Burke, made a valuable point in regards to the financial benefits of an apprenticeship too:
“You get to learn and earn at the same time.
It’s a great way to start your career without having to go to university and rack up lots of debt.”
All three of our Apprenticeshwere offered fulltime jobs at Coburg Banks when they’re Apprenticeships came to an end. With that said, we couldn’t be happier with their progress and commitment to the company.
Hiring apprentices will not only offer a financial reward, but it can also help create a diverse, loyal and skilled workforce in the process.
While university is the obvious career path for some young adults, this route may not be financially viable or even just remotely interesting to some.
Not everyone fits into the same mould. Some individuals thrive off working hard in a business, rather than in education.
In our experience, apprentices are keen to learn new skills and grow within your business because they see a more direct and clear career path.
This type of attitude is infectious and will hugely benefit your business in the long run.
If you decide to set up an Apprenticeship scheme at your place, it’s up to you to make sure it is run efficiently and fairly, to the benefit of yourself and your apprentice.
As you can see, our Apprentices valued the opportunity they gained at our company.
Plus, we are more than happy to support them with their careers. (Whether they decide they want to work with us afterwards, or not).
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