You don’t have to be a Jedi Master to take on an apprentice. You just need to be prepared to support and train someone, passing on your knowledge and experience in return for their hard work. This makes apprentices ideal employees for a small business.
Apprentices Want to Do What You Do
They’ve chosen an apprenticeship in your industry area and know that they’ll need to do the academic and practical study to support what they learn when they’re working in your business. Hopefully, they’ll bring enthusiasm for your business and their role, and a desire to learn.
Apprentices Are More Affordable
Pay rates for apprentices are generally lower than for other inexperienced staff you may take on, because their training and study for a formal qualification are part of their package. Training is normally subsidised by the Skills Funding Agency, via the training organisation. Training is usually free for 16-18 year olds but you’ll probably have to contribute 50% of the costs for 19-23 year olds. If your apprentice is 24+, however, either you or they will usually have to pay for the training (although they may be able to get a grant or a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan).
Also, National Insurance Contributions (NIC) for apprentices under 25 year old are being abolished, leaving more money in your pocket – and your business might be eligible for the £1,500 Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) too, available for employers with fewer than 50 employees and apprentices aged 16 to 24.
Apprentices Can Give You a Fresh Viewpoint
Most people applying for apprenticeships are under 24 and many are under 20, so if you and your current staff are on the more mature side, a younger apprentice may be just what’s needed to ensure you’re clued in to the younger generation and what gets their attention. They may also see things differently than you do, allowing them to come up with some great new ideas for improving, expanding or promoting your business.
Apprentices Allow You to ‘Grow Your Own’
There is a growing skills gap within many industries. Rather than searching for staff that have the right skills and fit in with your business, oversee training yourself by taking on apprentices – and you know you’ll be gaining the right people with the right skills for the job. You can be confident they’re learning work skills because working in your business forms an integral part of their training, along with formal study sessions that will help them gain a recognised qualification. That qualification will not just look good on their CV, but on your company profile, too.
For more details on the process of employing an apprentice, see the Government’s advice on hiring an apprentice or phone the National Apprenticeship Service on 0800 015 0600.