The benefits of taking on an apprentice and how to do it

a construction apprentice with a qualified builder

The world of work and education has been changing a lot recently, with the government setting a target of 3 million apprentices to be created by 2020. If you own a business and have been thinking about hiring new staff, but you aren’t sure whether taking on apprentices is right for you, take a look at some of the benefits on offer.

An extra pair of hands

For small businesses, tradesmen and sole traders, getting an apprentice on board could be an affordable way of getting an extra pair of hands to help with the work you have on. For a larger business, this might not seem so great a benefit, but the smaller the business, the more important it is to have someone to delegate smaller and simpler tasks to – you may even find you can fit extra jobs in with the added help.

Scoop up future talent

While it might seem like there is extra effort involved in getting apprentices for your business, you can rest assured that if you don’t, your competitors will.
Whether it’s youngsters looking to develop, or older candidates with the drive to carve out a new career, you can ensure your company has the cream of the crop for the future by investing in people early.

Benefit from their skills

While apprentices will be learning the ropes during their time working with you, they’ll usually be spending at least one day getting off-site training. This mixture of training will bring valuable skills to your business which you will no doubt benefit from.

With a lot being made of the skills gap, this is a great way to nurture skills for your industry while benefiting from them directly. These will be properly trained employees that you’ll know you’ve built from the ground up.

Take advantage of financial incentives

The rules will differ depending on your company size, but the government provides fully funded training for apprentices aged 16 to 19. There are also financial incentives available as grants for taking on apprentices – this is to help boost the number of skilled workers in England.

Worried about taking on staff?

If you operate a small business or only employ one or two people, it might seem like a large step to take in hiring a new employee, but an apprenticeship could be the ideal option to make the step halfway if you’re worried about costs and workload.

An apprentice scheme could come with a grant, as mentioned in the above point, so won’t cost you nearly as much as employing someone new full time. You’ll also be giving a new starter the chance to build slowly into your business, instead of making rapid changes.

How do I get an apprentice for my business?

The government can provide you with all the information you need to get an apprentice for your business, but here are the basic steps you’ll need to take to acquire  these valuable assets for your company.

  1. First you must decide which is the right framework for your company, finding the level which would be most appropriate to you.
  2. Find an apprenticeship organisation which will offer and provide the training.
  3. Source any relevant funding which might be available to you.
  4. Once this is set up, you can advertise your apprenticeship through the training organisation you’ve chosen.
  5. Finally, you can select the candidate you feel is best suited and produce an agreement and commitment statement.

Your apprenticeships could last up to five years; this is dependent on the level at which the apprentice you choose is studying at.

There are further details and resources available on the government website to help you properly set your company up with an apprenticeship scheme. You’ll also be able to find out whether your business is eligible for any financial incentives for taking up the scheme.