10 things every SME should know about apprenticeships

More and more young people are considering apprenticeships. In fact 54% of young people are now looking at this route as their first choice.

Secondly not enough SMEs are aware of the benefits that employing an apprentice can have for their business. The fact is the average person completing an apprenticeship increases business productivity by £214 per week – in organisations of all sizes.

Working with the National Apprenticeship Service, BigChoice.com has come up with a list of ten things that all SMEs need to know about apprenticeships:

1. Combine education and training

With rising higher education costs and a highly competitive jobs market, young people are looking at other options that combine education (often offering degrees and other qualifications as part of the programme), training and a guaranteed route to employment – apprenticeships offer all this and employers access to the best young talent.

2. There will always be a business in need

Apprenticeships cover more areas than you might think, spanning over 170 industries and 1,500 roles from advertising to nuclear engineering – with the diversity of roles expanding every year. It is unlikely that there is not an apprenticeship to fulfil your needs.

3. The small business hotline

If you have less than 250 employees, the National Apprenticeship Service has a small business team to help meet your businesses needs. They offer the three Ds of hiring an apprentice – decide, deliver and develop, helping to guide you through the recruitment process.

4. Tailor apprenticeships

While all apprenticeship programmes have set content, you can add additional content to tailor the training to the specific requirements of your business.

5. Working with a training organisation (college or training provider)

This ensures a high level of training for your apprentices. Training organisations offer a range of services to help businesses deliver apprenticeships. These include advertising your apprenticeship vacancies, supporting you through the recruitment process, delivering training and assessment and providing regular feedback on your apprentice’s performance.

They offer a support network to companies who can benefit from an apprentice but don’t necessarily have the resources to deliver everything that is required. You can pick the training organisation that is best for your business – this could be one that delivers training in the workplace or it could involve your apprentices attending training off site on a day or block release basis.

6. Gives you the chance to develop needed skills

Apprentices give you the chance to develop the kind of staff you want from a young age, whilst ensuring they are educated and trained to a high-level. This control in helping mould the skills of the workforce has increasing appeal in today’s job market.

Apprentices also impact staff retention and loyalty so that more staff – apprentices and others – stay with you for longer. Research shows that 86 per cent of young people stay in employment after they finish their apprenticeship, and 67 per cent stay with the same employer.

7. Noticeable benefits for your business

Some 96 per cent of employers have reported a benefit to their business; including improved products or services, fresh ideas being introduced and increased morale amongst staff.

8. Apprentices make your business more productive

72 per cent businesses said apprentices made their company more productive. In monetary terms the average apprentice increases productivity by £214 per week.

9. Cost-effective

Apprenticeships are very cost-effective for your business with funding for training costs available via your training organisation dependent on job role and the age of the apprentice.

Starting in August this year, apprentices aged 24 and over enrolled on an Advanced or Higher Apprenticeship are now offered an Advanced Learning Loan, which further reduces costs for the employer. Businesses still have to make a contribution towards costs but the remaining costs are paid by the apprentice.

You can find out more about funding at the Gov.uk website.

10. Apprenticeships grants are available

An Apprenticeship Grant of £1,500 per apprentice is available from the National Apprenticeship Service for businesses with under 1,000 employees, that haven’t started an apprentice in the last 12 months. This is for taking on apprentices aged 16 to 24. Thanks to this grant, (known as AGE 16 to 24), more than 35,000 extra young people have been able to start an Apprenticeship.

The NationalApprenticeship Service (NAS) selected theBigChoice.com as a media launch partner for its new ‘Av Live’ feed, which displays hundreds of live apprenticeship opportunities.

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