There are many benefits of employing an apprentice. A chance to share your skills and give a leg up. Here is a Guild guide to some of the latest changes to help you take on a new Master Craftsman.
Apprenticeships have been a part of business since the Middle Ages. Children from wealthy families were often sent out to learn their trade, living with a host family and absorbing the knowledge of their new master.
By the mid-1500s the first national system of apprenticeships was in place, complete with rules and regulations. Among them the directive that no apprenticeship should last longer than seven years and no master should have more than three apprentices. Cheap labour was discouraged.
Yet, by the 1960s apprenticeships had fallen out of favour. Seen as clunky, restrictive and lacking any kind of real benefit to business.
As a result of reform apprenticeships have made a comeback. Thanks in part to better financial incentives for small businesses and better conditions for trainees. Why would you employ an apprentice?
Is it really a good use of your time and money to train someone?
All the evidence points to the fact that, if you’re a small to medium enterprise your business benefits from employing an apprentice. Here are three reasons why.
Your employees are the backbone of your industry. They create and deliver your products and services, they act as your brand ambassadors. The search for talent that fits can take time and it takes time for an apprentice to get to grips with your culture and ways of working. Some of the most famous have started from being given the chance of an apprenticeship. Jamie Oliver and Billy Connolly to name 2!
Having someone who will learn to produce work to your standards, your way, is invaluable. Learning as they go, an apprentice will get to know your product and methodology inside and out. They’ll understand your work environment and culture too; an intangible but advantageous piece of knowledge for both. You get the chance to carry out quality control on your trainee. Put them through their paces and ensure they are a good fit before taking the final plunge. Having them sign on the dotted line and into a permanent role and start their journey
Whether you take on one apprentice or several more, you’re future proofing your business against the inevitable event of staff turnover. Hiring via an agency is not only time consuming, it’s costly too. As are the job advertisements and the time it takes your HR team (if you have one) to prepare. Then you have the interview process itself which, can take months. Investing in your teams through apprenticeships gives you choice. It provides you with a greater range of staffing options. Also the freedom to train your apprentice up in areas traditionally harder to recruit.
You’re sending out a positive message to your industry that young talent is welcomed. That you, as a forward-thinking business, are on board with nurturing and developing the workforce of tomorrow. This is reputationally advantageous and gives you opportunities to promote your company in many more ways.
The boss. While you might be persuaded that your business will benefit, what about you personally? In our modern working climate success is measured in so many more ways. Its no longer just on the potential to make a profit. It’s even more than job satisfaction or feeling ok about getting up for work again on a Monday morning. Success in business has a deeply personal element.
Taking a young trainee, or an older one, there are no caps on age, and helping them develop and grow. Knowing you personally are helping to mould a future worker is deeply satisfying. Taking on that responsibility isn’t necessarily an easy “yes”, it requires planning and foresight. Yes, you might benefit from financial incentives and from the advantages listed above but that knowledge that you’ve made an actual difference, provided a real opportunity and set someone on their career path, that’s a benefit only you’ll be able to measure.
And if you’re wondering how you might be supported from the Government’s point of view, there are plenty of boxes you’ll need to tick, including a commitment to pay at least national minimum wage (currently £4.15 p/h for an apprentice), give a proper role in your business and payment for when they’re training off site.
In return, as long as you take someone on before the end of January next year, you can claim £2,000 for an apprentice aged between 16 and 24 or £1,500 if they’re 25 or over. There are further incentives for younger workers and for taking on a young person who has an EHC or Education, Health and Care plan put in place for them by their local authority.
3 If the student is aged between 16 and 18 the government will pick up 100% of the training and assessment costs. If they are older than 19 it is 95%.
To find out more you can call the apprenticeships helpline on 0800 015 0600 or follow this link here.
With many Master Craftspeople across numerous industries and businesses battling to keep their heads above water, it’s understandable that taking on apprenticeships might not be the top of anyone’s list right now. But while you look to keep your own business alive, particularly in industries that have been affected most in the current economic climate. Looking forward to creating a better, more sustainable business model seems like it might just be the right time. Understanding the benefits of employing an apprentice is the first step in the right direction.
Good for your business, good for tomorrow’s workforce and good for your community – an apprenticeship might also be the business boost you’re looking for. It’s time to start thinking outside the box and asking yourself if you and your business might be able to make room and find time for an apprentice.