Five easy steps to bringing an apprentice into your business

With apprenticeships becoming an increasingly popular and effective way to recruit, our CEO Anthony Impey shows you how your business can take advantage of government support to bring in apprentices that have fresh ideas and new ways of thinking.
Apprentice works on skilled design work

Business leaders tell me time and again that the biggest challenge they currently face is the lack of skills and talent. They report that it’s stifling their recovery and growth at a time when they’re trying to get back on their feet after the pandemic.

I always suggest that they consider apprenticeships because of my first-hand experience of the value that they can add, having employed apprentices in all the businesses I have started and scaled.

The benefits are enormous, including boosting productivity, fostering a loyal and motivated workforce, and generating fresh ideas - and not forgetting that it offers a superb return on investment! For this reason, nine out of 10 employers say that hiring an apprentice has helped their business.

Today, it’s never been easier to introduce an apprenticeship into your business, so these are my five easy steps to making apprenticeships work for your business.

(1) Identify the roles and skills you currently need in your business

Look at the available roles and missing skills in your organisation and identify how apprenticeships might work to meet these requirements.

There is a misconception that apprenticeships only work for the most junior roles. In fact, there are a huge number of apprenticeships, including those that are the equivalent of a university degree, and many organisations use them to both hire new people and retrain their existing staff.

Once you’ve decided on the skills needed, visit the government’s apprenticeship platform and select an apprenticeship training course and a training provider.

(2) Find out what funding is available

Funding varies between the four nations, with England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland all operating different systems.

In England, most small businesses only pay 5 per cent towards the cost of the apprenticeship, with the government paying the other 95 per cent. Those businesses whose annual payroll is more than £3m contribute to the apprenticeship levy, which they can use to pay for the cost of the apprenticeship, with the government providing a top-up of 10 per cent.

Facts about mentoring

Contrary to assumptions around the age of apprentices, some 47 per cent of those beginning an apprenticeship were over this age.

In another case of challenging historical presumptions, some 26 per cent of new apprentices are higher level ones.

Over 90 per cent of apprentices currently go into work or further training.

Young apprentice learning new skill

(3) Start recruiting (you can jump to Step 4 if you're retraining and existing member of staff)

Once you’ve handled all the logistics, you’ll need to start advertising the position. One way to do this is by creating an advert using your apprenticeship service account. You’ll need a to have a few details on hand to create the advert but once you’ve finished, you can submit it and keep track of it using the platform. And it doesn’t cost anything to do.

Once it’s been approved, prospective recruits can view it on the GOV.UK website. You can also share it using your company’s social media accounts, newsletters, and through word of mouth.

(4) Put the paperwork in place

Once you’ve interviewed and selected your ideal candidate, you’ll need to make and sign an apprenticeship agreement with your apprentice. This will outline:

  1. The skills the apprentice will be trained in
  2. The apprenticeship they’re working towards
  3. The start and end dates of the apprenticeship
  4. The amount of training you’ll be providing

You’ll also need to sign a commitment statement with your apprentice and the training provider. You can write your own our use this handy template.

(5) Help get your new team member up to speed

Help your apprentice settle in by arranging introductions with key members of the team and make sure that their line manager schedules plenty of catch ups to discuss their training and development.

In group sessions, encourage them to speak up and share their opinions, insights and knowledge. One of the key benefits of hiring an apprentice is working with someone with fresh ideas and new skills, so make sure their voice is heard.

Ensure that the training provider gives regular updates on what training is being delivered and the progress that your apprentices is making, so that you can provide the encouragement and support that makes all the difference.

For more help and advice

It’s worth speaking to a few training providers to understand the services that they provide. They’re often a good source of advice about what works best for you and your business.

The Apprenticeship Ambassador Network is also a great place to go for advice; it’s a voluntary network of nearly 1,000 large and small apprentice employers, who offer support to others who are considering apprenticeships.

And please don’t hesitate to message me.

Anthony Impey

CEO, Be the Business