The benefits of hiring an apprentice
Apprenticeships have long been a key part of UK employers’ armoury when it comes to taking on and training up motivated staff. Furthermore, they continue to be very popular; as of 2019/20, some 719,000 people were participating in an apprenticeship in England. Here’s why you should consider hiring an apprentice.
When you are looking to hire personnel to help your business grow, recruiting an apprentice may not be the first option that comes to your mind. Furthermore, hiring an apprentice will not be the best route forward for some firms, such as those that would be unable to provide an apprentice with the tasks that would allow them to apply their learning.
In some situations, however, taking on an apprentice may turn out to be the most viable path for meeting your business’s staffing needs. Here are some reasons why that might be the case.
It can be highly cost-effective
Before we go any further, we can’t get away from the fact that employers are often drawn to the possibility of hiring apprentices because they are more affordable than other hires. This is down to a combination of government funding and apprentices being paid a lower wage than more experienced workers.
For the latest information about how the government can help you pay for apprenticeship training, we would urge you to consult the official HM Government website for Apprenticeships. But in summary, at the time of typing, the extent of the help the government can give you to fund apprenticeship training will depend on whether your organisation is required to pay the apprenticeship levy.
You will need to pay the levy if you are an employer with a pay bill exceeding £3 million a year. The government will apply a 10% top-up to the funds you have in your account. If you lack enough funds, you will only need to pay 5% of the outstanding balance, with the government footing the bill for the rest.
If your organisation’s annual pay bill is below £3 million, you won’t need to pay the apprenticeship levy; you will instead pay a mere 5% towards the cost of training and assessing an apprentice.
However much you might be required to pay from your own funds when hiring an apprentice, it has a reputation as a highly cost-effective route. According to smallbusiness.co.uk, apprentices frequently pay for themselves within a few years, and can bolster their employer’s bottom line due to their on-the-job impact and productivity.
They can offer a fresh perspective to your business
Apprentices are often young people, which might make them especially worth hiring if your company is presently largely staffed with older people. This advice may apply especially strongly if your current employees are older than much of your current customer or client base.
Much has been said down the years about the benefits of diversity in the workplace, including fostering new ideas and innovation.
But diversity is not just a question of race and gender, as age is a major differentiator, too. Hiring an apprentice at 16 or 18, then, could be great for helping to bring new ways of thinking into your business. This will help prevent you from slumping into a mindset of “we’ll continue doing it this way because this is the way we’ve always done it.”
They might be the best answer for addressing skills shortages
When we say “skills” here, we are thinking in particular about the ‘soft’ skills that can often be lacking in graduates, who might be highly technically proficient in their chosen field, but less ready for the workplace when it comes to such things as business communication and negotiation skills.
Both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills are vital to have well-represented in your workforce when you are seeking to grow your business. Yes, on one hand, apprentices are effectively ‘learning on the job’, so you will need to be patient with them. But the very fact that they will be learning on the job will give you considerable scope to ‘mould’ them to your organisation’s requirements from an early stage of their development.
You can train up apprentices for specific job roles
If there is a glaring gap in your current team in terms of the skills your business requires and advertising a vacancy in a conventional way isn’t quite throwing up the candidates that seem to be a good match, taking on an apprentice could allow you to fill that role for the longer term.
Much of the whole benefit of apprenticeships is that they are designed ‘by employers, for employers, around real-world business needs.
Get talking to reputable apprenticeship training providers like TCHC, then, and you may be surprised by how suitable a route hiring an apprentice could be, including to fill skills gaps in such fields as business admin, customer service, and digital marketing.
Call us now, on 01923 698430, for an in-depth discussion about how we can cater to your organisation’s most specialised and urgent needs in relation to workforce development and training.