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Just why are apprenticeships good for business?

Welcome to the first of my blogs. The world of apprenticeships is undergoing huge change, not only to the way that they are funded, but also to the apprenticeship product itself.  Over the next few months, I will be discussing some of the key issues that are turning the world of apprenticeships on their head!

So, let’s make a start with some facts about apprenticeships, and why I believe that they are a great way to grow and develop business talent at all levels.

Firstly, the key things that you need to know about apprenticeships (in less than half a page!!) are:

  • Apprenticeships are available in all areas of business.
  • They range from craft level (L2) right the way through to masters level (L7)
  • Apprenticeship programmes are available for new recruits or your existing employees.
  • Anyone over the age of 16 can start an apprenticeship.
  • The Government pays for the training of your apprentice, but you have to pay the other costs, including wages
  • If you pay the apprenticeship levy (and you will if your payroll costs are greater than £3m), then you can get up to 110% of what you pay back in training costs for your apprentices
  • If you are an SME business, then the government will pay at least 90% of your apprenticeship training costs
  • If your apprentice is aged 16-18, the government will give you extra £1,000

In all businesses, what sets them apart from their competitors, is their people, and Apprenticeships are a very effective way of developing staff of all ages. Why am I convinced that apprenticeships are good for business?

  • The Government pays for the training. Even non-levy payers receive at least a 90% discount on the cost of the training
  • Offering an apprenticeship to new recruits is a great way to recruit, train and develop your own staff
  • Research tells us that Apprentices are more productive once trained
  • Apprentices are also more motivated, and less likely to leave than other employees.
  • Whilst they are on their programme, apprentices can legally be paid less than other workers
  • Apprentices need a mentor. This is a good way of giving responsibility to other members of the team.

Now, as with everything in life, having Apprentices in the business does require some effort on the part of managers. So what are the other things that a business needs to think about?

  • The money from the Government is for training only. You have to pay the Apprentice’s wages etc
  • All Apprentices have to learn the theory, as well as the practice associated with their job. There is a requirement therefore that they spend 20% of their working time in off job training, which will be organised by the approved training provider.

As I have said, like anything else in life, nothing is free, and with an Apprenticeship programme you get out what you put in.

One of the key benefits for me, is that Apprentices are a great way of having someone in the business who does things the way that you do them!

All of the training required, and the monitoring of the progress that is being made by the Apprentice is undertaken by an approved government training provider.

This brief blog is intended to highlight some of the basics associated with employing an apprentice. If you would like to know more or speak to both employers who already have apprentices, and training providers who deliver the training, then there are a series of events taking place around the country that will give you that opportunity.

Visit the National Apprenticeship Show website, for details of how you can find out more, or even take part yourself in the events.


Tony Allen
AAS Ltd.

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