06 Jul Can Apprenticeships help SME’s?
If you are an employer or an owner of a brand new start up or SME, you have probably considered the pros and cons of employing an apprentice to assist you in your business. This is something you are not alone in, as there are 1000s of companies across the UK, from retail giants such as ASDA and Boots to small independent bakers that have taken on apprentices and seen the real benefits that they can provide.
As an active and proud member of the Anglia Ruskin University Graduate Alumni, I work closely with Apprentice for at least 1 month a year. It was initially conceived as a way of giving back to the university that assisted me – partly – in getting where I am and I also concluded that there were many benefits after the first attempt. I may now employ a number of staff in Greece, Cyprus and Cambridge, in the United Kingdom but have continued to offer a monthly apprenticeship, this years’ having started this week which prompted me to right this blog.
Having worked for over 4 years with apprentices but also having being an apprentice myself in my ealry university years, I have visibly noted some useful benefits for most SME’s but also the obvious negatives. Nonetheless, the benefits by far outweigh the cons and so, if you aren’t yet convinced that an apprentice would be right for your business, take a look at some of the reasons it could be beneficial to you.
Low staff costs
The average apprenticeship completer increases business productivity by £214 per week according to statistics and this is not the only benefit as it will assist you in your first steps of opening your business. It is tough and difficult to grow and seek new business when you are a Start-Up or an SME and spending – or investing – on a n new employee could turn out being too big a risk to take, whilst an apprentice can significantly reduce the cost and provide you with vital help both in terms of your work in hand as well as time.
High-quality training providers help you with the entire process: recruiting an apprentice, customising a training programme, accessing funding, and much, much more. There are a number of them out there and you can also seek governmental help as well as assistance from the institution (university or college) you are seeking to recruit from.
Develop new recruits to your requirements
Hiring an apprentice does not necessarily need to mean they will remain a temporary recruit for ever. I have many times had very positive experiences with recruits (currently is also one of them) when if possible, I attempted to offer a permanent, full time contract to them and lure them to the business and professional life following their graduation. 82% of employers take on apprentices to build the skills capacity within their businesses and many can adapt much easier having started from the bottom end and also have an extra drive to reach the top.
Flexibility for existing employees
Free up your existing workforce so they can do what they do best and also give them that well needed extra time to engage in other company activities and identify whether they are suited to an expansion of responsibilities.
Give your team new skills and energy
96% of apprentice employers say they are beneficial to their business for a number of reasons. Not only is it a new person, with fresh ideas and an approach to everything you and your team have been seeing one dimensionally all this time but also a breath of fresh air in the office. Allow your staff to collaborate and spend time with each and also give your apprentice the chance to also see what they do or do not like doing and what they also perceive as easy or difficult.
(Source of stats: National Apprenticeship Service ‘Employer Guide to Apprenticeships’)
Summarising, most apprenticeship programmes are strongly by the UK government and therefore there are a number of financial incentives for any business to take part. These incentives are made up of a grant for employers taking on an apprentice, of up to £1,500 depending on certain criteria being met, and up to 100% funding of the training cost which will be paid directly to the apprenticeship provider.
If you are interested in employing an apprentice and would like more information it might be a good idea reading more about the matter and contacting your local apprentice providers. I am more than happy to also provide you with some advice so feel to contact me below.