The benefits of apprenticeships
Apprenticeships are a hot topic right now, especially with the increased focus of the government on injecting skills into the current and developing workforce. Here, we explore the many benefits of hiring an apprentice for your team.
What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a system of training where an individual will carry out on-the-job training alongside studying with a training provider. 80% of their training will be carried out on-the-job, with the remaining 20% taking place outside their usual day-to-day tasks. This may entail days out of the office for taught lessons, but can also include job shadowing, mentoring and internal training courses.
After a change in the rules surrounding apprenticeships, an individual can now do an apprenticeship at any level of their career, provided there is a corresponding apprenticeship standard* to their job role.
How can hiring an apprentice aid your team?
An apprentice can offer many benefits to your organisation and team, including but not limited to:
1. Generating new skills in the team
An apprentice will be learning new skills and developing their knowledge of the industry and role itself. Often, these are skills that other team members could also benefit from, and your apprentice could help by sharing what they’ve learned with the whole team.
2. Improving staff satisfaction and retention
Multiple studies have found that offering training to your employees increases morale and their loyalty to you as an employer. Therefore, hiring apprentices or retraining staff through apprenticeships can improve overall staff satisfaction and retention because they feel that you are investing in them and their future with the company.
3. Creating a valuable member of your team
Not only will an apprentice pass on their knowledge to the wider team, they’ll also become very valuable to your organisation with their greater understanding of their role and latest thinking in the field. This will help inform the work they do and bring your organisation forward to compete with other forward-thinking competitors.
4. Creating a culture of lifelong learning
Another buzz word - lifelong learning is becoming increasingly important as technology and new thinking in certain industries leaves some experienced individuals without all the necessary skills to excel in the new world of work.
Apprenticeships naturally prepare an individual to continue learning and developing their skills even once their apprenticeship is complete. The system of learning both on and off the job, as well as continuous review, becomes a way of working for apprentices, which they’ll continue upon finishing their training.
5. Increasing your bottom line
All the above leads to the realisation that an apprentice could increase your bottom line. Greater staff retention, better trained employees and a culture which fosters learning, development and being the best in the industry drives performance and ultimately revenues.
6. Spending your apprenticeship levy
Last, but not least, if you are a levy-paying company, hiring apprentices will allow you to spend your levy funds and not lose them to the government. Apprenticeship training costs are capped at between £1,500 and £27,000, depending on the apprenticeship standard.
Why is now a crucial time to start thinking about apprenticeships?
It’s now two years since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, which imposed a new tax on employers with a pay bill of over £3 million per annum. The government would then return the funds in the form of vouchers to be redeemed against apprenticeship training on a monthly basis. These vouchers would then expire if not used after 24 months.
So, 24 months after the levy came into effect, the very first training vouchers will now be expiring from large employers’ digital accounts. So if you are yet to utilise your levy, now is the time to act before you lose those funds.
Similarly, for smaller employers, the government has brought into force new regulations around co-investment and transfer increases. SMEs can now claim 95% of the cost for apprenticeship training back from the government, meaning that they only pay 5% of the training fees. This has halved the previous figure of 10% co-investment from SMEs.
Plus, levy-paying employers can now transfer up to 25% (previously 10%) of their unspent funds to another organisation, such as their supply chain, charities, and so on, opening more doors for SMEs to start hiring apprentices.
* An apprenticeship standard is a determined set of knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) that apply to a particular occupation, whereby an apprentice has to provide evidence of their competency in each area in order to achieve the qualification.