How do apprenticeships work for employers?

3 July 2020

an apprentice meeting their employer at the start of an apprenticeship scheme

Hiring an apprentice can be beneficial to a company in a number of ways. For instance, by agreeing to have an apprentice in your business, you’re able to source new talent, assess the skills of current members of staff and determine areas that need improvement, delegate tasks, generate fresh ideas and offer a helping hand to someone that is at the start of their career.

In a recent Learners and Apprentices Survey, 78 per cent of employers said that they noticed improved productivity through taking on an apprentice. Additionally, 65 per cent said that an apprentice brought new ideas to their company. But how do apprenticeships actually work for employers and what benefits do they bring? Carry on reading for the answers to these questions and more.  

What is an apprenticeship scheme?

For those leaving high school, an apprenticeship scheme is an interesting alternative to college, university or heading straight into full-time employment. They’re also appealing to more experienced people who want to change careers but need the necessary knowledge and training to do so.

Apprenticeship schemes are available in many different industries and they make it possible for people to learn on the job, gaining a qualification and getting paid as they do it. Hiring an apprentice for a fixed-term is cheaper than hiring a new permanent member of staff, so it’s also more cost-effective for the employer.

An employer will hire an apprentice as a normal member of staff on a specific type of contract called an apprenticeship agreement, which follows the rules outlined in the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children & Learning Act 2009. In an apprenticeship agreement, the apprentice is either employed by the employer or through an Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA), who the employer would pay a fee to.

Government funding is available to train apprentices, and employers have the option of using an apprenticeship scheme to train new or existing members of staff.

How apprenticeships benefit employers

As a business owner, there are a number of key benefits to hiring an apprentice, such as:

Cheaper recruitment cost –

Along with the option to get help with funding from the government and pay a lower salary for your apprentice than you would with a fully-trained, permanent member of staff, you’ll also cut out any other costs that typically come with hiring a permanent employee such as recruitment company fees.

Trial new talent –

As part of the apprenticeship agreement, the apprentice is given a set timeframe for working at your company. However, although there’s no guarantee that a permanent position will be available to them after it’s completed, you have the option to offer permanent employment to the apprentice if they impressed during their time at the company.

Improved efficiency –

By introducing additional members of staff, current employees are able to delegate some of their tasks to them, freeing up their time and giving the apprentice the experience they need. Many studies suggest that apprenticeships lead to increased productivity, with more time for current employees to complete tasks and a fresh, positive approach from someone that’s willing to learn and eager to impress.

Update industry standard –

Apprentices are learning a qualification while they work, so any changes or developments in the industry will be covered in their course. Due to this, your apprentice could be a useful asset, as they will be aware of the most recent standards. As such, during their training, the apprentice may be able to offer guidance on updates to industry standards to current members of staff.

Promote intention to grow as a company –

One of the reasons that so many companies encourage apprenticeship schemes is to show their intention to grow, learn and invest in their staff. Not only that, but by allowing employees to join the company on temporary contracts, they’re showing transparency that they have nothing to hide and are following the correct rules and regulations.

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