Employers who take on an apprentice simply to make the tea are missing a trick. The right apprentice could be a future star, raising productivity and bringing in new sales. They simply need a chance. With youth unemployment at alarmingly high levels, government policy is pushing apprenticeships and is offering employers funding to give young people badly needed opportunities.
The reputation of the apprentice needs improving. They are often seen as cheap labour, having a bad attitude to work and being incompetent or clueless. If the employer regards an apprentice in this way, the experience will be wasted. They need to be managed properly and be given targets. Helping to fulfil aspirations, treating apprentices as adults and equals and instilling trust will make all the difference. The apprentice may leave at the end, taking their training with them, but equally they may turn out to be the future star employee. More than 100,000 employers are offering apprenticeships in more than 160,000 workplaces.
Financing the Apprentice
Taking on an apprentice does require a financial commitment on behalf of the employer.
The National Apprenticeship Service funds 100% of the placement for apprentices aged between 16 and 18. 50% is funded if the apprentice is aged between 19 and 24. A contribution to the cost is offered for older apprentices over the age of 25.
Apprenticeships are an attractive option because of the value they bring to the business. For businesses to quality certain criteria need to be met.
There are more than 250 different types of apprenticeship frameworks covering 1400 different job roles. <a href=”http://www.theapprenticeshipworks.com/apprenticeship_funding_grants.asp“>Government funded courses & training</a> include business administration, creative media, nursing, textiles and accountancy. Apprenticeships are offered at three different levels: intermediate level, where an apprentice needs 5 A*-C GCSEs; advanced level, where two A levels are required; and the higher level, which requires some form of higher education. Grants of up to ?1500 for apprentices aged between 16 and 24 are also offered to support the recruitment of apprentices by businesses which employ up to 1000 people and which have not employed an apprentice in the last year.
For employers there is a support network in place to offer advice about recruiting apprentices and giving practical help once the apprenticeship gets under way. It’s not just about recruiting one person, as employers working with an approved government training provider can take on up to 10 apprentices. Their training can be managed in conjunction with a local college or private training institution.
As with so many aspects of business, there is a risk involved. The apprentice may not deliver the results hoped for. However, that can be the case with older, more experienced colleagues. The beauty of apprentices is that they are not set in their ways and are usually willing to learn. Fresh blood is good for a business.