This week is the 17th annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), and the theme is ‘Skills for Life’.

More and more employers are recognising the benefits to bringing apprentices into their businesses. In this article we’ll look at what’s involved in taking on an apprentice for the first time, and how they could make a difference.

NAW says, ‘[This is] a week-long celebration that brings together businesses and apprentices across the country to shine a light on the positive impact that apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses and the wider economy.’ National Apprenticeship Week

Some of those positive impacts that an apprentice can make include:

  • It can be more cost effective than employing trained staff
  • You have the chance to develop the skills and talents that suit your specific needs
  • Apprentices bring fresh ideas and innovation
  • Apprentice training can be adapted to the needs of your business
  • A young person in an apprenticeship is motivated to learn.

So, is your business ready to hire an apprentice?

If you have recognised the need for more skilled workers in your business, and you or a delegate can dedicate some time to training, then you are ready to consider an apprentice. Going this route rather than employing a fully trained staff member does present some differences though:

You’ll need to set up an apprenticeship service account, through which all elements of the apprenticeship are managed. This is where you can access funding, advertise roles and make payments to the apprenticeship provider.

You’ll need to work with an apprenticeship training provider. This is the college or organisation that conducts the classroom learning element and chooses the final examination organisation.

The apprenticeship is government funded, so you’ll need to apply for that support. If your staff wage bill is less than £3m, you can request 95% towards the cost of training and assessing your apprentice. If your wage bill is over £3m then you’re required to pay the apprenticeship levy which entitles you to a 10% top up.

You may need to conduct more detailed and more supervised on-the-job training than with a new employee. This is because your business requires skills and knowledge that fall outside of what the apprenticeship course can offer in the classroom.

Your apprentice will spend a minimum of 20% of their work hours in a classroom environment, so they will be away from work in order to learn.

There is a final assessment that your apprentice must pass at the end of their training. As an employer you do not have to conduct this, but you must be able to welcome an external assessor into your business.

More information on what’s involved with offering an apprenticeship can be found at apprenticeships.gov.uk.

If you would like some assistance in checking if your business is apprenticeship ready, then let’s have a conversation.

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