Modern Apprenticeships: How Your Business Can Benefit from Taking on an Apprentice

30 April 2012

Apprenticeships provide individuals with the training that they need to get a set of nationally recognized qualifications in a certain industry. Although these positions provide training and advantages to individuals, they also provide a lot of benefit to the company that hosts the apprentice. There are thousands of apprenticeships that are supported, funded, and coordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service. Currently, they are developing programs to investigate how the government can enhance apprenticeships for SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) in particular.

In short, businesses do not receive any cash incentives for taking on an apprentice, and they must pay their apprentice at least the minimum apprentice wage which is £2.60 per hour. Business owners must also foot the bill for supervising and mentoring the apprentice. However, in spite of those costs, there is no reason to stop reading as there are several other benefits. Some of the benefits are tangible while other advantages are more theoretical.

Hiring an apprentice is not simply a money pit. In fact, many of the related training costs of the apprentice are subsidized by the National Apprenticeship Service. This is cost effective for the average business owner because it means that the government is essentially paying for them to train some of their employees. These well trained staff members can be an asset to your business as it rises past the economic recession.

A study conducted by the University of Warwick at their Institute of Employment identified several financial advantages for small businesses who take on apprentices. Their findings indicated that the cost of training an apprentice is quickly recouped by most employers, and they even found that in cases where the business owner offered significant mentoring to the apprentice that they received an even faster and more lucrative return on their original investment. When they crunched the numbers, they found that for every £1 invested by taxpayers that there was a gain of approximately £16.

The Learning and Skills Council verified these findings in their 2009 study. They surveyed several small business owners about their experiences with apprentices, and they discovered that over 80 percent of the respondents found that the apprentice made their company more productive. Two thirds of the respondents said that the apprentice made their business more competitive in their particular industry. Almost all of the respondents (92 percent) said that their involvement in the program helped to motivate their other staff members and to increase the overall job satisfaction of everyone at the company.

One reason that many entrepreneurs turn to apprenticeships is because they feel that it is good for business in general. One of the biggest threats to UK businesses is an overall shortage of skills. By training apprentices, business owners add to the nation’s available skill sets, reduce turnover rates, decrease the potential for work related injuries, and increase the nation’s productivity. If you are ready to improve your business while helping the nation, you are ready for an apprentice.

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