Apprenticeships provide on-the-job learning for anyone over the age of 16 who is not already in full-time education. Often, apprenticeships are suggested to school leavers as an alternative to college or university. Although those who have gone on to further education and gained such qualifications can apply for higher level apprenticeships and find that there are many benefits to gain from doing so.
Whilst 16 is the minimum age, there is no maximum. Apprentices come from many age cohorts. In fact, Govia Thameslink Railway reports that more than 60% of their apprentices are over 30, and the scheme even employs a determined 76-year-old!
This past year the pandemic has highlighted the value of training and upskilling due to a rapid decline in low-skilled work opportunities. Those who have been made redundant during this time may be keen to re-train for a pandemic-proof role or industry. As such, employers may start to see a diverse range of applicants for entry-level roles that provide opportunities for on-the-job training.
Benefits for an apprentice include hands-on experience as they learn, a clear route to career progression, and study time which is allocated within their working week. There are many benefits for employers operating apprenticeship programmes too.
Benefits of hiring apprentices in your business
Hiring an apprentice or upskilling an existing employee through an apprenticeship scheme is a great way to nurture those who are keen to learn whilst growing a skilled and certified workforce.
A new apprentice will be motivated to learn from their peers as they work towards a qualification. This can be uplifting and purposeful for a team that has valuable knowledge to share. The motivation can be encouraging too.
When an apprentice comes from previous employment, they tend to have transferable skills that can be applied in a new way. For example, an ex-waiter who is an excellent multi-tasker or a retail assistant with natural negotiation skills.
Those coming straight from school might be highly adept with technology, bringing new efficiencies for task completion to a digital role.
In addition to these benefits, which can be of great value to a business, employers can receive funding from the government to implement an apprenticeship scheme. There are also new opportunities for funding as a result of the pandemic, such as the KickStart scheme, which has been created for 16–24-year-olds.
Government funding is a helpful source of support for businesses looking to take on apprentices, but employers will need to invest in other ways to make theirs a successful scheme.
Giving your apprentices a good start
New apprentices will be joining your company to hone their skills by learning from the best. They will be looking up to you for an example and will need a well-structured programme to follow.
Much like any new employee joining your company, an apprentice should receive a thorough induction. This should provide them with an introduction to the business, important processes such as how to request holiday or report sickness, who they will be working with, who they report to and how they will access their training material.
Most inductions are happening online at the moment, so consider how you might need to make adaptions such as allowing for screen breaks.
Beyond the induction, your apprentice is going to need ongoing support from their co-workers and management. A mentor plays a crucial role in the development of an apprentice. Think about who is best suited to this role and how you can support them.
An inspiring route to success
If further proof were needed that well trained apprentices can go on to achieve great success, consider that inspirational figures including Leonardo de Vinci, Alexander McQueen and John Frieda all started out with a humble apprenticeship.
If you are thinking about mentoring an apprentice and want to make sure you give them the best possible start in your industry, give us a call. We’ll talk you through your options and help you come up with a scheme that is set for success.