Blog

06 February 2020

Nick Colquitt: Why Apprenticeships are a great opportunity for Businesses

In the fifth of our National Apprenticeship Week blogs, NICK COLQUITT of SR Education talks about the opportunities Apprenticeships provide for businesses of all shapes and sizes and how your involvement can change a life.

As you will be aware, the landscape and indeed the world of apprenticeships has undergone huge changes not only to the way that they are funded but also to the apprenticeship product itself. 

So, let’s begin with some real facts all about apprenticeships, and why I believe that they are a fantastic way to develop and help businesses grow.

So, a few reasons why I and SR Education are so passionate about apprenticeships:

  1. Apprentices are more motivated, more productive, and much less likely to leave than other employees – they have more loyalty as you have invested in their futures.
  2. Offering an apprenticeship to existing staff is a great way to develop your business as well as upskilling and motivating your existing workforce
  3. Offering an apprenticeship to new staff is a great way to recruit, train, and develop them to your methods, systems, and procedures as well as bringing in new talent, ideas, and enthusiasm
  4. The existing staff could be mentors to apprentices to broaden their own skills and provide an apprentice with a team member with experience and knowledge to share.

In addition, did you know that…

  • Apprenticeships are available in all areas of business from Tattooists to Taxidermy and Bus Drivers to Business Admin and pretty much everything in-between and what’s more, they start at Level 2 all the way to Level 7 (which is equivalent to a Masters degree!).
  • You don’t have to just employ new staff - apprenticeship programmes are available for your existing workforce too and they don’t need to be 16 years old – anyone over 16 can start an apprenticeship.
  • It’s a really cost-effective way to recruit new staff or upskill existing staff as the Government pays for the training of your apprentice. You as the employer have to cover the salary and other costs.
  • If your payroll is more than £3m and you pay the Apprenticeship levy you can claim up to 110% of what you pay in training costs for your apprentices back. Don’t worry if you are an SME, the government will still help by paying at least 95% of your apprenticeship training costs
  • The government will also give an extra £1,000 to the apprentice too if they’re under 19 years old

So apprenticeships have huge advantages to employers but businesses need to be realistic. An apprenticeship is not about cheap labour and takes work from all sides as well as time, you as an employer need to ensure you can provide 20% off the job training time as well as time to learn on the job.

How does it work?

The 20 per cent of off-the-job (OTJ) training required for apprenticeships in the UK is important because it ‘reinforces practical, work-based learning with technical and theoretical learning’. It also focuses on new skills rather than assessing existing ones to demonstrate progress from the apprentice’s starting point. The time off the job can include everything from educational inductions to mentoring, coaching, shadowing, observations, attending competitions, and project work.

For example, most apprenticeships contain a ‘Project Unit’ that is used to contribute and implement improvement of business performance. This can be anything from analysing and improving data to managing physical resources – perfect for adding value to your business!

So, what next?

Apprenticeships work by creating a true partnership approach that is tailored to both the learner and businesses’ needs.  The right apprentice can change your business and you can change the life of an apprentice – how amazing is that?

National Apprenticeship Week Blogs 2020

Lucie Andrews: Myth Busting Apprenticeships
Isaac Azim: Why I Chose an Apprenticeship
Billie Elliott: Using an Apprenticeship to Change Career
Rebecca Ward: Using an Apprenticeship to Break Down Barriers