Four ways an apprentice can help your business grow

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Huge challenges remain for businesses trying to grow. Skills shortages continue to be a serious threat to many areas of business, yet many of you reading this may not realise that one way to build solid foundations for the future and harness fresh talent is through taking on apprentices.

There are numerous advantages of bringing eager new people into your business, and apprenticeships now cover more skills and industries than ever before.

As the government continues to position itself to support increased apprenticeships and upskilling, there has never been an easier time to take on an apprentice. Apprenticeships enable businesses to grow their own skilled workforce, whilst also gaining access to administrative support, financial help, and providing apprentices with a programme of structured learning.

Take a look at four crucial benefits an apprentice can bring to businesses that can help turn raw talent into business growth.

1. Increased productivity

Apprenticeships help businesses boost productivity by bringing in new talent that quickly helps to grow their skills base. Think of this as adding more strings to your bow – you can train someone in the style you want to broaden the talent within your organisation.

The average apprenticeship increases business productivity by £214 per week by the end of an apprenticeship, leading to increased profits, lower prices and enhanced products. According to Cebr.com, the results range from an increase of £83 in the retail sector and £114 in health, public services and care, right up to £401 in construction and planning, and £414 in engineering and manufacturing.

2. Fresh ideas and enthusiasm

Bringing in apprentices means they will be doing on-the-job training alongside existing staff, as well as external training with a learning provider. This arrangement can bring fresh ideas and innovation to businesses; from bringing them up-to-date with social and technological trends, which busy firms may struggle to keep pace with, to introducing new ways of thinking into the workplace and motivating other members of staff.

The successful development of an apprentice will also mean they can be nominated for awards and entered into competitions, which can help put your business on the map and raise your brand identity.

3. Loyalty

Employers that haven’t experienced offering apprenticeships before are understandably cautious about bringing relatively inexperienced young employees into their business. Through the structure of an apprenticeship however, the employer has the opportunity to develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. Research from NAS has shown that nearly every employer that takes on an apprentice (96%) reports benefits to their business. Apprenticeship funding is not only utilised for bringing in young people to the business, it can also be accessed to train an existing member of staff in new skills.

Apprenticeships are attractive to many companies who want to ‘grow their own’ bespoke employees or demonstrate a commitment to staff development, rather than depending on the labour market to find skilled workers. As well as being a financially astute move, employers also report satisfaction at helping young people realise their potential. In return, the majority of new apprentices/existing staff apprentices (67%) stay with the same employer after completion.

4. Incentives and financial support

Apprenticeships enable young people to earn while they learn in a real job, gaining valuable qualifications. An apprentice must be paid at least the apprenticeship minimum wage of £3.70 per hour and businesses taking on a 16-18-year-old apprentice can benefit from a £1000 incentive payment.

Levy paying employers can utilise their digital account to pay for the apprenticeship training.

Non-levy paying employers can access funding from the ESFA through a training provider to train apprentices/existing staff. If the employer has less than 49 staff and takes on a 16-18-year-old apprentice, the government will pay the training provider 100% of funding to train the apprentice/member of staff.

If the employer has over 49 staff, the government will contribute 90% funding to train the apprentice/member of staff, regardless of age. The remaining 10% would be paid by the employer.

If you are interested in growing your own business by either taking on an apprentice or training an existing member of staff in new skills, get in touch to see how Virtual College can support you.

Author: Melanie Thompson

Melanie leads the apprenticeship division for Virtual College and prides herself on operating a high-quality provision. She has a wide range of qualifications, including a degree in Education, and keeps up-to-date with educational reforms. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three daughters.