Apprenticeships are often seen as the middle ground between education and employment, where an apprentice learns whilst working. Learners gain an education from actually participating in tasks that will benefit them in the workplace, able to interact with those who have experience in their respective fields and are able to guide them on their way to having a greater knowledge for the industry.
Although this is brilliant for the apprentice, how does this benefit the employer? What are you getting out of hiring an apprentice?
The minimum wage for an apprentice is £3.50 per hour* (rising to £3.70 per hour as of April 2018), meaning they are a far lesser expense than other members of the workforce, even those who are on minimum wage.
This is due to how companies are expected to train their apprentices, giving them an education that they would otherwise not have the chance to receive.
This means that, while you are training apprentices to aid them with the completion of their course and their ability to transfer these skills in to the workplace, you can also train them to fit the needs of your company at a lower rate (which is much more cost effective than hiring a member of the workforce on minimum wage and teaching them the ropes!).
Bridge the skills gap
When hiring a young apprentice, especially those who have come out of previous education such as school or college, you can expect them to be adept at certain skills that maybe your more experienced workforce aren’t as educated in.
For example, the younger generation have grown up surrounded by computers and social media, and will have a greater idea of what’s important to those around their age. We as a society are moving away from paper based work due to the cost effectiveness and the efficiency that electronics bring, meaning those who have the ability to use these resources and in turn, pass on their knowledge to others, will be the ones who reap the benefits.
The younger generation are typically more enthusiastic about their work too, meaning they’re likely to pick up new skills at a greater rate than more experienced members of the workforce. Hiring an apprentice could be the answer to filling in skill gaps found in your business not just through what you can teach them, but through what they can teach you.
Flexibility for existing employees
Apprentices may go in to their new roles with little knowledge of the industry they’re working in. Due to this, it can be a good opportunity to set them tasks that helps free up other members to do the more demanding areas of their jobs.
Now although this does not mean apprentices are tasked with making everyone a cuppa at the click of your fingers, it does mean that tasks such as dealing with paperwork can be a good way of teaching them important basics of the industry. This way, when they progress in their job role, they have a greater all round understanding of how the industry works and why certain tasks are performed. Understanding why something works is often more important than just knowing how it works.
As said, due to apprentices being tasked with jobs such as these, it gives other members of your workforce the opportunity to focus on tasks that an apprentice (and indeed other employees of your company) are not qualified to carry out. This in turn creates a greater workflow for the business, as employees time is not occupied performing tasks that obstruct their ability to complete tasks that can only be performed by them.
High unemployment is a problem in modern society. With many who are fresh out of education (such as school, college or university) unable to secure a job due to having no previous experience, many employers are not able to offer them the opportunity to gain this experience.
Enter apprenticeships. As previously mentioned, apprenticeships offer learners the opportunity to work whilst at the same time gaining an education. Due to the comparatively low cost of hiring an apprentice compared to an experienced member of the workforce, there is less of a risk involved, with potentially an even bigger reward.
Because you are investing in an apprentice, they will likely be more inclined to stay committed to your company. If you take the time to train them and give them skills that will aid them in their future working life, they’re likely to return the favour and dedicate themselves to you for the foreseeable future.
Apprentices are great. They are enthusiastic to complete any job laid in front of them, and typically have skills that you would not otherwise have in your existing workforce. Not only that, but they are typically more economical to hire, and can free up work for other employees. Find out what the actualy costs are of hiring an apprentice here ADD LINK