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Acas publishes new guide for employing apprentices and young workers

Friday 18 March 2016

Workplace experts, Acas, have launched a new free guide during National Apprenticeship Week to help employers manage and support apprentices and young workers.

The guide has advice for employers on how to help young workers and apprentices with the transition from education to the world of work.

Stewart Gee, Head of Information and Guidance, said:

"Young workers and apprentices can bring in a lot of fresh ideas that can greatly benefit an organisation but sometimes employers don't take full advantage of their skills from the start.

"Research has also shown that the average apprenticeship can increase business productivity by £214 a week, so it's beneficial for all businesses to read our new guide to understand how best to recruit, engage and retain young workers and apprentices."

Acas' new free online guide outlines five key actions for employers when recruiting apprentices.

  1. Find an apprenticeship course that suits your business - all apprenticeships must follow set criteria so consider what skills you require an apprentice to learn and choose an apprenticeship course that meets the needs of your business.
  2. Find a training provider - once a course has been chosen you should find a local training organisation (such as a local college) that will handle the apprentice's training, qualification and assessment. The training organisation may also be able to help you with the recruitment process.
  3. Check if you're eligible for a grant or funding - you may be entitled to a grant for taking on an apprentice aged between 16 and 24 years old. In addition, you may be eligible to recover part of the apprenticeship course costs.
  4. Advertise the apprenticeship - create a job description and a person specification detailing what skills are essential and desirable for the role you need.
  5. Be clear about the apprenticeship agreement - once you choose the apprentice you want to employ, make sure you create an apprenticeship agreement (in England and Wales) or an employment contract (in Scotland). This should include all the basics, such as pay and the duration of the apprenticeship.

Stewart added:

"The average cost of hiring a new member of staff is £5,000, which can be very costly for small businesses.

"Our new guide clearly sets out what support should be given to young workers so that they can become skilled, valued members of the team that want to stay."

Acas has three key tips for businesses to help them retain young workers.

  • Be clear about what the job involves and what is expected - let the young worker know what is expected of them. Things can quickly go wrong if the young worker isn't sure what they are meant to be doing. Watch our animated video to find out more.

  • Acknowledge and provide extra support where needed - young workers will have little or no experience of the workplace so they may need extra support to get them settled in.
  • Provide a proper induction - an induction is key as it sets the tone for the business. Acas recommends using our free 'Starting Work' e-learning module available at Acas Learning OnLine, which contains key questions to help young workers understand their rights and responsibilities in the workplace.

The full Acas guidance booklet for businesses, employers and managers is available at Employing younger workers.

Acas has also published a blog Jill Coyne: What's so special about Younger Workers?.

Acas also has guidance available for anyone going into their first job that has top tips on how to prepare for their first day and also useful advice on getting treated fairly. This is available at First job.

Notes for editors

  1. Acas guidance Employing younger workers is available on the Acas website. Specific information on Apprentices can also be found on the Acas Advice A-Z pages.
  2. Further information on National Apprenticeship Week.
  3. Further information in Acas research report: pdf  Young people's views and experiences on entering the workplace [371kb].
  4. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) research: Apprenticeships that work: a guide for employers includes the statistic to show that the average apprenticeship can increase business productivity by £214 a week.
  5. The CIPD's latest Labour Market Outlook Survey is available to download.
  6. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.  Acas provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. We support good relationships between employers and employees which underpin business success. We also provide good value, high quality training and tailored advice to employers. Our expertise is based on millions of contacts with employers and employees each year. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law.
  7. Acas Helpline Online is a free web service available to employers and employees to help them with common work related questions.
  8. For media enquiries please contact Sophia Said, Media and Internal Communications Manager on 0207 210 3680 / ssaid@acas.org.uk. For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 020 7210 3600.