Apprentices help businesses to improve productivity and product quality – and what other benefits are there?
Apprenticeships are an excellent way to recruit new talent or upskill and retain existing employees. You can have apprentices throughout your business – from school leavers to managers – so there is the possibility of shaping every level of your organisation. Incorporating apprenticeships not only shows your employees that you are invested in their career development, but it’s also a smart business decision.
From financial incentives to building a more skilled workforce, let’s look at the benefits of apprenticeships to employers.
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What businesses say
According to apprenticeships.gov.uk statistics, 86% of employers have said that apprenticeships have helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation. Productivity has improved for 78% of employers and 74% said that apprenticeships actually helped them improve the quality of their product. These are great endorsements for apprenticeship programmes.
An attractive feature of an apprenticeship training programme is that you can design it yourself to ensure that the business will benefit from it. This allows you to upskill your current workforce and grow your team with new talent. Apprentices are usually eager and ready to learn new skills to either jumpstart or further their career so anyone who participates in the programme should be a great addition to your team.
Government financial incentives for apprenticeship schemes
The UK government offers employers an incentive of £1,000 for each apprentice between the ages of 16 to 18 that a business hires. An employer is also eligible to receive the incentive if an apprentice is between the ages of 19 and 24, with an education or health and care plan, or has been in local authority care.
As taking on less experienced candidates is such an investment – in both time and money – it is smart to take advantage of all financial help available to offset your costs. You can use the cash incentive to support your apprentice, for example putting it towards the purchase of necessary equipment, like a computer or protective gear, to enable them to effectively do their job.
If your business is an apprenticeship levy payer, you can use your levy to fund your apprenticeship programme, which includes things like
paying a training provider
Even if you’re a small business and not a levy payer, the government will heavily subsidise the cost for apprenticeship training, so it’s still a cost-effective option that’s worth exploring.
National insurance savings
There are also savings to be made on national insurance. Class 1 National Insurance contributions aren’t required for apprentices aged 25 or younger and who earn less than £967 per week.
Don’t let any government assistance slip by and investigate every scheme you might be eligible for – lots of savings to be found!
Recruitment costs can be a burden, but investing in an apprenticeship programme can work out cheaper than recruiting for new skills. Employers should treat apprenticeships as a way to acquire and develop talent within their organisation, and as apprenticeships are available at various levels, they can also be a cost-effective strategy for upskilling the employees you already have.
Attract talented employees of all ages
While most people assume the majority of apprentices are school leavers, apprenticeships are available for anyone aged 16 or older, so your talent pool consists of candidates of all ages who want to learn and develop their career with your company.
As they are choosing a path that consists of learning while they work, they often bring with them a new perspective and an excitement to learn and apply their learning on the job. No matter what level of experience your company is looking for, an apprenticeship is always worth consideration.
Mind the skills gap
Apprenticeship training helps to address the digital skills gap many businesses face, and allows apprentices to flourish and develop their talents. For some, this can eventually lead to employees becoming specialists in their field, which can only be a positive outcome for organisations.
Develop happy and loyal staff
Apprenticeships help to increase staff retention. The Apprenticeships Evaluation learners report 2021 found that on average, seven in ten (69%) apprentices who completed their course were still working in the same organisation that invested in their apprenticeship. Those who completed Level 4 or 5 apprenticeships were the most likely to stay with the same employer (82%), followed by Level 6+ apprentices (71%).
As long as their apprenticeship experience is enjoyable and worthwhile, apprentices will often choose to continue their career with the company they started with. Young apprentices should be encouraged to view their apprenticeship as the first part of their career, and learning on the job helps earn their loyalty and commitment to the company.
Become an industry leader
While it might seem obvious that an apprenticeship programme will help your business develop industry-leading skills and practices, you might not realise that it could also benefit your other employees.
The standards for apprenticeships are developed by leaders in the industry so your apprentice is acquiring the best knowledge and skills through the programme. If you actively encourage your apprentices to share industry best practice with colleagues, you can help upskill your other employees as well. You’ll have a skilled and motivated workforce that will be ready to adapt to changes and developments in the industry as they come.
Clearly, investing in an apprenticeship programme creates a supportive environment for everyone at the company, benefiting not just apprentices and employees, but employers too.
How The Education and Skills Partnership can help
Your business faces unique talent challenges, so getting a bespoke solution that is designed to suit your business and apprentices is the only way to ensure you have a training programme that delivers the results you want.
We’ll do all the heavy lifting to enrol and onboard your new or current staff members and will deliver engaging and compelling programmes to each and every learner.
To learn more about how we can support you, contact a member of our team for a free consultation.