More and more businesses are choosing to hire an apprentice, with many finding it an effective way to recruit and train new employees. The benefits of hiring an apprentice are numerous, from bringing new skills into the business to improving productivity. That’s why businesses across the UK are choosing this route.
Whether you choose to hire an apprentice as a new member of staff, or to upskill your existing workforce through an apprenticeship scheme, apprentices make a valuable addition to any workforce and can bring a wealth of new skills to your organisation.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the advantages of hiring apprentices into your organisation, as well as taking a look at the apprentice recruitment process. We’ll also discuss how you can upskill your existing employees through an apprenticeship scheme.
What is an apprentice?
An apprentice is a type of employee that undertakes training alongside their operational duties. This means that they are given paid time off work to study for a formal qualification. The qualification that is studied will depend on the specific career and the level of apprenticeship.
The apprentice is also given on the job training by their employer. This enables them to learn their chosen career whilst adding value to your business. By the end of their apprenticeship, they should be fully proficient in the job role, as well as having obtained a formal qualification in the field.
At the end of the apprenticeship, many apprentices are offered full time employment by the company for which they have been working during the apprenticeship. Others will progress onto other roles or undertake higher levels of apprenticeship.
Is hiring an apprentice worth it?
If you’re thinking about hiring an apprentice, you might be wondering whether hiring an apprenticeship is really worth it. After all, as the employer of an apprentice, you’ll be required to provide on the job training to develop your apprentice’s skills, whilst also allowing time for your apprentice to complete a formal qualification.
There are many advantages of hiring an apprentice, from improving productivity within your organisation to the wealth of new skills that an apprentice can bring to your business. This makes hiring an apprentice an attractive option to many employers.
However, you’ll also need to bear in mind the commitment that comes with hiring an apprentice. For example, you’ll need to provide on the job training, as well as allowing time for your apprentice to complete their formal qualifications during working hours.
Despite the extra effort that can come with hiring an apprentice, the majority of employers agree that it is worth it, thanks to the wealth of benefits that hiring an apprentice can bring. But what are the benefits of hiring an apprentice? Read on to find out.
What are the benefits of employing apprentices?
Taking on an apprentice is an effective way to create a skilled and motivated workforce. And with the UK government continuing to put money into apprenticeships, it’s also a cost-effective way to grow the talent within your organisation. That’s what makes apprenticeships so attractive to employers.
Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits of hiring an apprentice.
1. Grow new skills
Not only do apprentices bring new ideas and perspectives to your business, but they also increase your skill base, thanks to the formal qualification that they will be taking alongside their employment. In fact, in a recent survey, 86% of employers were quoted as saying that apprenticeships enabled their employees to develop skills that were relevant to their business. This makes hiring an apprentice an effective way of upskilling your workforce and growing skills within the business.
2. Increase your productivity
Taking on an apprentice is a cost-effective way to increase the number of employees within your business. This is because the minimum wage for a first year apprentice is lower than a standard employee, as a result of the training that they are receiving alongside their employment. As a result, hiring an apprentice is a great way to boost productivity within your organisation, without a huge increase in cost. In fact, studies have suggested that over 80% of businesses find that their productivity increases as a result of hiring apprentices.
3. Generate new ideas
With new staff comes a new enthusiasm for the role, as well as new ways of thinking. Fresh minds are perfect for generating new ideas and seeing things from a different perspective. This has led around three quarters of employers to describe apprentices as helping them to improve the quality of the products or services that they offer. So, if you’re ready to bring new ideas and ways of thinking into your organisation, hiring an apprentice could be an effective way to do this.
4. Boost employee motivation
If your employees feel like they are being supported to develop professionally and given the chance to learn new skills which are transferable to other job roles in the future, they are more likely to give the job their all. This means a boost in motivation, an increase in productivity and an improvement in performance. After all, who doesn’t want motivated staff?
5. Tailored to your business
Hiring an apprentice is a great way to add a new employee who is perfect for their job role and knows your organisation inside out. As you are able to tailor the training of your apprentice based on the needs of your business, you can effectively train your new employee to act and think in the way that you want. This means that they won’t have picked up any bad habits from other organisations, so they will essentially live and breathe your business.
6. Long term business strategy
Whilst hiring an apprentice is likely to create a bit of extra work in the short term, it’s a great way to prioritise the long term strategy of your business. That’s because apprentices are typically keen to learn how your business works, enabling them to quickly begin adding value to your organisation. Over time, you’ll find that they become a valuable asset to your business, enabling you to focus your time on growing other areas of the organisation. That’s why hiring an apprentice is such an effective way to future proof your business.
7. Boost employee retention
Many business owners find themselves spending time hiring and training new staff, only for them to leave the business a few months later. This is an unproductive use of time and can cost your business thousands of pounds each year. Employing an apprentice can help you to boost your employee retention, as apprentices tend to be more loyal to the business than other types of employees. In fact, one survey conducted by the National Apprenticeship Survey suggested that hiring apprentices improved staff retention rates in 69% of companies.
How to hire an apprentice
If you’re considering taking on an apprentice for your business, you might be wondering how to go about doing so. In this section, we’ll talk you through the process of hiring an apprentice, giving you all the information that you need to get started.
Who can hire an apprentice?
Almost any business in the UK can hire an apprentice, and it’s an effective way to bring new skills into your organisation.
If your pay bill is more than £3 million per year, you’ll be paying into the apprenticeship levy. You can then spend this money on training your apprentices, along with a 10% top up from the government. If there aren’t enough funds in your account, you’ll be required to pay 5% of the outstanding balance, with the government funding the remainder.
However, if your annual pay bill falls under the £3 million threshold, you will be required to pay just 5% of the costs of training and assessing your apprentices. The government will pay the remaining 95% of the costs of training your apprentice. This means that you’ll be gaining extra skills for your organisation at a low cost. That’s what makes hiring an apprentice such an appealing option for many employers, but especially for small businesses.
How to find an apprentice
So, you’ve decided to hire an apprentice into your organisation, but where do you start with recruitment? There are many different ways to find an apprentice, and you’ll need to choose the option that’s right for your business. Here are just some of the ways to recruit an apprentice:
- Create an advertisement through your apprenticeship service account. This will then appear on the government’s ‘find an apprenticeship’ portal for potential applicants to view and apply for.
- Create your own job advert on job boards such as Indeed, Monster or Reed.
- Host open days, inviting potential candidates to find out more about your apprenticeship opportunities.
- Promote your apprenticeship opportunities on social media, including using paid advertising where required.
- Arrange to visit schools, colleges and universities, as well as attend careers fairs to promote your apprenticeship vacancies.
Paying an apprentice
If you decide to take on an apprentice, you will be responsible for paying their wage, which can be paid either weekly or monthly. This must be at least the National Minimum Wage for their age range.
As of November 2021, the National Minimum Wage for apprentices currently sits at £4.30 per hour for 16-18 year olds, as well as those aged 19 and over in the first year of their apprenticeship. After the first year has been completed, apprentices who are aged 19 or older are entitled to the standard National Minimum Wage for their age.
Apprenticeship agreement – what you need to know
When you take on an apprentice, you’ll need to create an apprenticeship agreement that sets out the employment arrangements between the employer and the apprentice. This must be signed by both the apprentice and employer before employment commences.
Information that should be included within the apprenticeship agreement includes:
- Apprentice name
- Apprenticeship standard and level
- Place of work
- Start and end date of apprenticeship
- Start and end date of practical period
- How much off the job training the apprentice will receive
Do employers get paid for apprenticeships?
The UK government regularly offers financial incentives to employers for hiring apprentices. For example, employers are currently being offered a one-off payment of £3,000 for apprentices who are employed between October 2021 and January 2022. Check the government apprenticeship website for up to date information on financial incentives for hiring apprentices.
How do apprentices add value?
Apprentices can make a valuable addition to almost any organisation, boosting employee motivation, improving productivity and bringing new ideas to the business. Not only that, but hiring an apprentice is a cost effective way to future proof your business, growing new talent that will progress through your business for years to come. If you’re looking for a way to upskill your workforce and keep your business moving forwards, hiring an apprentice could be a good move to make.
Apprentices make a valuable addition to any workforce, enabling employers to train a new employee from scratch, without the bad habits that often come from employees who have previously worked for competitors. That’s what makes hiring an apprentice so appealing to many employers.
The benefits of hiring an apprentice are endless, from boosting productivity and employee motivation to growing new skills and talent from within your organisation and increasing your staff retention. If you’re ready to hire an apprentice, the government’s apprenticeship website is a great place to start. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about apprenticeship, from the apprenticeship standards available to the training providers that you can choose from.