Take another look at apprenticeships

Sage People Advice experts look at how apprenticeships are a cost-effective way for you to build your workforce with the exact skills you need, now and for the future.

A recent survey by ICM Research revealed that employers in England considered apprentices 15% more employable than those with “traditional” qualifications.

Separate research published by the Association of Graduate Recruiters and Totaljobs.com has shown that employers are shifting away from graduate employments, and embracing apprenticeships. Almost half of employers said that they prefer apprentice employees, citing that graduates often lack interpersonal skills and don’t have sufficient work experience.

Sage Apprentices

What’s more, research by Populus on behalf of the LSC has revealed that:

  • 77% of employers believe apprenticeships make them more competitive
  • 76% feel that apprenticeships provide higher overall productivity
  • 80% say that apprenticeships reduce staff turnover
  • 83% of employers rely on their Apprenticeships programme to provide the skilled workers that they need for the future
  • 88% believe that apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce

The benefits of an apprentice

There are a range of other reasons for you to consider an apprenticeship to help grow your business:

  • Reduced wages: minimum wage for an apprentice aged under 19, or those 19 or over and in their first year of their apprenticeship, is just £2.65 per hour
  • High motivation: fresh, keen learners can help motivate your whole business
  • Depending on your sector and their age, up to 100% of the apprenticeship training can be paid by the Government
  • Long-term loyalty: taking on an apprentice and training them in the skills your business needs can encourage them to remain with you
  • Increased reputation: as an employer that invests in apprenticeships

Financial support from the Government

There has never been a better time to take advantage of apprenticeships in your business. The Government has pledged more support and funding to those SMEs that offer apprenticeships, from the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS).

The Apprenticeship Grant, where you are eligible for a £1,500 grant if you take on 16 to 24-year-olds, has been extended to 2014 after a positive reaction. What’s more, you’re able to claim the grant on up to ten apprentices.

Decisions, decisions: what to think about

To help decide if an apprentice is right in your business, consider the following questions:

  • Are you genuinely looking for someone who you can train up with the skills to have a key role in your business?
  • Do you have the time and resources to offer meaningful training, support and guidance?
  • Have you planned exactly what the apprentice will do, both in the short and long term?
  • Can you afford an apprentice, even with the grant and reduced wages?

To take the first steps into offering an apprenticeship, get in touch with the National Apprenticeship Service, who can offer support, funding and help in co-ordinating the delivery of an apprentice into your business.

For more support on apprenticeships, log in to your Sage HR Advice service and read the Types of Worker topic in the Starters section of the website. You can also see how apprentices have found the Sage apprenticeships programme on our blog.

Sage People Advice experts