Why it pays to take on an apprentice
In previous decades, apprenticeships were reserved for traditional industries such as construction, manufacturing or engineering and predominantly offered to young people.
However, as industry has evolved so too have apprenticeships.
From aerospace and accountancy to social care, retail, hospitality and digital media, apprentices are now found in a wide range of sectors. Today, apprenticeships are available in over 1,500 occupations, across 170 industries, for employees of all ages.
A recent high profile recruitment drive by The British Intelligence Service highlighted the growing importance of skilled people to modern business and the changing attitudes to workplace skill development. This also followed a £60m government initiative to make higher apprenticeships available to more businesses and a long-term commitment to develop 3 million quality apprenticeships during the course of the next parliament.
These initiatives, together with an increasing willingness to employ apprentices over 25, have already helped thousands of employees to develop new skills and brought UK businesses significant benefits.
- 89 per cent of companies say apprentices provide a higher level of productivity.
- 75 per cent of apprentice employers say apprenticeships have helped to cut recruitment costs.
- Over 250,000 workplaces in England currently offer apprenticeships..
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Almost nine out of ten businesses believe that taking on apprentices is good for productivity, while 83% say that an apprenticeship scheme helps to boost the productivity of the whole company. Apprenticeships can also help your business stay up-to-date with the latest technology and techniques and show existing employees that you are willing to invest in the future.
Fewer skills gaps and lower recruitment costs
As the competition for skilled people increases, apprenticeships allow businesses to effectively fill their skill gaps and plan ahead. Government schemes like higher apprenticeships, which offer degree level qualifications, also allow you to develop existing staff. That's why three quarters of employers believe apprentices have helped to cut recruitment costs.
A better return on investment
In addition to the long-term financial benefits of employing apprentices, the government estimates that employers can recoup their investment within one to two years. They may also be entitled to claim a government grant and/or financial assistance to help meet the costs from the National Apprentice Service.
The building blocks of a brighter future
Apprenticeships help to shape the future of your business by bringing in fresh skills and developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. This in turn provides an effective way to meet future skill demand, avoid external recruiting and improve staff retention.
With a range of programs to suit employees of almost any age, skill or sector there are a number of options currently available to employers and apprentices.
- Intermediate Level Apprenticeships - apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as a Level 2 Competence Qualification, Functional Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification.
- Advanced Level Apprenticeships - apprentices work towards work-based learning such as a Level 3 Competence Qualification, Functional Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification.
- Higher Apprenticeships - apprentices undertake a framework at Level 4 and above which will include a competence based qualification, Functional Skills and in some cases a broader vocationally related qualification, which could be a Foundation degree.
An apprenticeship is a type of employment contract with comprehensive workplace training, and a way for people of all ages to earn while they learn. You can employ anyone aged 16 or above and even take existing employees on as apprentices. However, in return, as an employer you must fulfil the following responsibilities.
- You must give your apprentice to the role and provide on-the-job-training.
- Apprentices aged 16-18, or who are in the first year of their apprenticeship, must be paid a minimum of £3.40 per hour. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage for their age.
- You should employ apprentices for at least 30 hours a week.
- All apprenticeships should include a formal agreement between the apprentice and the employer.
- Apprentices should receive the same benefits as other employers.
- GOV.UK guide to apprenticeships and traineeships
- Apprentices advice page
- Acas publishes new guide for employing apprentices and young workers
- Employing younger workers [428kb]