Apprenticeships have changed and they’re transforming businesses across the country.
Think Apprenticeships are just for trainee plumbers and carpenters? Think again. Government grants for SMEs, changing attitudes to university, and a generation of school-leavers determined not to become Jobcentre statistics have fuelled a revolution in Apprenticeships. Here are 10 reasons why your business should take on an apprentice in 2014.
It will boost your profits
Research by network provider BT, a long-time advocate of Apprenticeships itself, calculates a net profit of more than £1,300 per apprentice when compared to non-apprentice recruitment for the same positions.
It will improve your productivity
Meanwhile, a survey by the Department for Innovation, Business and Skills (BIS) published in 2012 found that 72% of apprentice employers reported improved productivity thanks to the introduction of Apprenticeships.
You can train staff in ways bespoke to your business
Today’s Apprenticeships are designed to ensure maximum flexibility for the employer – enabling businesses to plug their skills gaps. For Harry Simpson, owner of London-based[SH1] marketing firm Ginger Nut Media, apprentices were crucial to his company’s growth. “Hiring an apprentice has allowed us to expand much more quickly than we would have been able to do otherwise,” says Simpson. “We can now offer design and coding because our apprentices are very good at it.”
You can apply for a £1,500 grant for your business…
… if your headcount is under a thousand and you haven’t taken on an apprentice in the last 12 months. The £1,500 Apprenticeship Grant for Employers of 16- to 24-year-olds (aka AGE 16 to 24) has already helped thousands of employers recruit apprentices – and is available until the 31 December 2014. Find out more about the grant and whether your business is eligible by visiting the National Apprenticeship Service website or call 08000 150 600.
It can save you money
Depending on the age of your new apprentices, your business can be eligible for up to 100% of the training costs incurred. You can also promote you vacancies free of charge on the National Apprenticeship Service website (see 8) and find that your recruitment costs are dramatically reduced.
You must still pay your apprentice at least the apprentice National Minimum Wage, which starts at £2.68 per hour, though many employers pay more.
You’ll keep your staff for longer
Retention rates for apprentices are, quite simply, the stuff that dreams are made of. Essex-based estate agency Spicerhaart has recruited 42 apprentices over the last four years and boasts a 96% retention rate. “We have apprentices who stay with us for the long term,” says manager Bobby Dale. “So the benefits for us are around retention costs too.”
It’s the same story for housing company Dale & Valley Homes. “We’re committed to increasing our minimum number of apprentices, and wherever possible to recruit from our apprentice pool,” explains David Sanders, director of resources. “2011 saw our first ex-apprentice join the senior management team.”
There is also strong evidence of progression for people entering as apprentices to reaching the very top. Recent researchby City & Guilds found that almost one in six London companies have at least one former apprentice on their board. Half of employers surveyed agreed that apprentices made good managers.
You’ll diversify your workplace
Earlier this year the leading law firm Clifford Chance hit headlines when it revealed its new “CV-blind” policy for interviews. In a bid to include more talent from state schools and non-Russell Group universities, at the final interview stage its staff can no longer see which university or school the interviewee attended. “We’re looking for the gems, and they’re not all in the jeweller’s shop,” an employee told reporters at the time.
The magic circle firm has joined a growing number of employers for whom “social mobility” is no longer a CSR buzzword, but a recruitment strategy that yields positive results for their business. Traditional graduate employers like Deloitte, PwC and Eversheds are all redesigning their recruitment strategies to include Apprenticeships and to include an emerging talent pool of school-leavers for whom university is no longer the ultimate goal, although a degree-level qualification still might be.
You can advertise your vacancies for free
ou can advertise as many placements as you need to, free of charge, on the National Apprenticeship Service website, through the Apprenticeship vacancies online service. The National Apprenticeship Service Recruitment made easy guide will help you streamline the process too, keeping all costs to a minimum.
You’ll benefit from a motivated and passionate workforce
When questioned about Apprenticeships for a 2012 BIS survey, a massive 69% of employers reported improved staff morale thanks to their apprentices, while 70% of mid-sized firms (250+ employees) agreed their apprentices had contributed new ideas to the business. Visit the case studies section on the National Apprenticeship Service website and you’ll find a bank of employers hailing their apprentices as passionate, enthusiastic and motivated.
You’ll get with the times
Did you know that the Royal Opera House now recruits apprentices? That Facebook and Google recently welcomed their first intake? Or that PwCis introducing a vast range of Higher Apprenticeships?
Business from all sectors are embracing Apprenticeships, and why not? Apprentices are proving themselves invaluable to businesses, while eight out of 10 say their Apprenticeship has “improved their ability to d
o their job, provided them with sector-relevant skills and knowledge, and improved their career prospects.” It’s a win-win situation.