Apprenticeships are an efficient, cost-effective way to train a workforce with the precise skills you need for your business – both now and in the future. They are also a source of fresh energy and ideas that can revitalise or stimulate business growth.
Apprenticeship ‘frameworks’ are available for over 1200 job roles from business admin through to lab technicians, healthcare, and digital social media.
An Apprentice will help you:
- Recruit at relatively low cost
- Develop the specialist skills to give you competitive edge
- Ensure professional/trade skills are not lost in your company or wider industry
- Bring a fresh perspective to the way you work and communicate with customers
- Develop new ideas and innovations to take your business forward
- Raise your community profile as a responsible and caring employer
Taking an Apprentice is a commitment but it isn’t complicated and plenty of support and guidance is available. SMEs that are prepared to make the effort will gain a committed and engaged workforce and a business that’s fit for the future.
An Apprenticeship combines a real job with training. Candidates earn while they learn and work towards recognised qualifications that give them job specific skills. In England, Apprenticeships are open to anyone between the ages of 16 and 65, although it is more common to have Apprentices aged between 16 and 24. An Apprentice could also be a new recruit or an existing employee.
Apprenticeships can take between one and four years to complete, depending on the sector and the job role. Apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds must last for a minimum of 12 months.
Candidates work through a series of modules and, on successful completion, receive a nationally recognised qualification in their chosen field. Apprentices are required to have a minimum of 280 hours of ‘guided’ learning away from the job which is delivered by an approved training provider.
Your Apprentice will also receive on-the-job training from you or your team to teach the specific tasks they need for their role and, to learn the ins and outs of how your particular business operates.
Training providers play a vital role in ensuring the success of an Apprenticeship scheme: they don’t just provide the off-site training but, will also help complete the necessary paperwork to make sure the employer complies with relevant legislation.
How much does it cost?
There is a National Minimum Wage for Apprenticeships that applies to Apprentices aged 16-18 and, to those aged 19 and over in the first year of their Apprenticeship. In practice most employers pay their Apprentices significantly more than this minimum rate.
The cost of ‘off-the-job’ training for Apprentices aged 16-18 is fully funded by the Government. For those aged 19-24 the funding is currently at 50%, whilst partial funding is available for the over-25s.
There are also some indirect costs attached to managing an Apprenticeship, such as taking time out of the ‘day job’ to supervise and support a new recruit. This short-term impact on productivity will lessen as the Apprentice acquires new skills and is able to work more independently.
Training providers can advise on the current minimum rates; these are also available from the National Apprenticeship Service website.
The National Apprenticeship Service
The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) is responsible for supporting, funding and co-ordinating the delivery of Apprenticeships throughout England. The NAS website is full of information for employers and potential candidates about the frameworks available, current wage guidelines, your nearest training provider, vacancies in the area, and the ins and outs of setting up a scheme. www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
Setting up your own scheme
Employers wishing to set up their own scheme should contact training providers in the area that offer Apprenticeships; typically this includes Further Education colleges and some private training companies. The NAS website provides details of providers in each area and the frameworks available. The Goldsmith Apprenticeship Academy in Letchworth Garden City has a comprehensive range of Apprenticeships including Lab Technicians. For more details or to meet a Business Adviser and discuss your specific requirements, call Rosemary Adams on 01462 424242 ext 2021 or, Christine Sharman on 01462 424242 ext 4208.
Written by Bridget Poulter, Marketing Executive, Business Goldsmith Centre, part of the North Hertfordshire College group
The One Nucleus blog is written by individuals and is not necessarily a reflection of the views held by One Nucleus.