The positive effect apprentices have on businesses
The last couple of years have seen an immense surge in the number of apprenticeships being offered across the UK, with 509,400 courses beginning in 2015/16.
Apprentices not only fill skills gaps, they do so in a cost-effective way, which affords businesses more freedom to nurture their next generation of talent.
More and more employers today are waking up to the benefits of apprenticeships. This can either be employing a new member of staff as an apprentice or encouraging an existing employee to further their career by taking an apprenticeship.
An apprenticeship allows an individual to study for a work-based qualification that can significantly improve their future earning power and career enjoyment. But it also provides many benefits for the employer.
Here are some key benefits of apprenticeships for employers:
Apprenticeships provide skilled workers for the future
Apprenticeship training helps employees to improve their skills, which will benefit the company in the long term.
An apprenticeship will also ensure that the skills developed are matched to the company’s future needs. This will help fill any skills gaps and allow the business to source future managers and leaders from within.
Apprenticeships increase staff loyalty and retention
Employees who have been trained in-house tend to be highly motivated, committed to the company and supportive of its business objectives.
An apprenticeship encourages employees to think of their job as a career and to stay with the company for longer, which reduces recruitment costs. Offering an apprenticeship to an existing member of staff shows that you see them as an integral part of the workforce and are happy to invest in their future.
According to data from the National Apprenticeship Service, 92% of companies that have taken on apprentices believe this leads to a more motivated and satisfied workforce and 80% have seen a significant increase in employee retention.
Apprenticeships increase a company’s bottom line
Investing in staff trained through apprenticeships has a positive effect on a company’s finances, making it more competitive.
National Apprenticeship Service data has shown that 81% of consumers favour using a company that takes on apprentices. You can even calculate the return on investment of an apprenticeship on your business on the organisation’s website.
Furthermore, as companies receive funding for each apprentice they take on, it means they don’t have to spend as much to recruit new staff into the business.
Apprenticeships free up existing staff time
As a business grows, staff often find their time is taken up by smaller tasks when they should be concentrating on their key areas of work.
Delegating these basic jobs to an apprentice allows them to learn and take responsibility, while freeing up the time of your more experienced staff. Better allocation of work should make your business more productive.
Apprentices can revitalise a company
Apprentices often bring a fresh approach and a positive attitude into the workplace, which can have a knock-on effect on existing staff. By embarking on an apprenticeship, they are showing themselves to be willing to learn and can bring new energy and innovative ideas into the company.
As apprentices come from a range of backgrounds – including high-calibre candidates who do not want the costs of going to university – they can bring fresh insight into your business activities.
Employing apprenticeships is a fantastic way of injecting new energy and creative ideas into a business. The way apprentices approach problem solving is vastly different from other staff and that can often lead to new and innovative ways of working. When using technology, for example, apprentices are often keen to improve processes, or find ways of speeding them up.
More than the impact on the processes, an apprenticeship also helps to develop staff, giving them the opportunity to mentor and nurture someone inexperienced. The development of these interpersonal skills has a knock-on impact for the way they support other members of staff, potentially having a far wider impact.
If your business is encountering a skills shortage or recruitment problem, you might consider an apprentice to inject a little more enthusiasm. They are an ideal solution, and will relish the opportunity to make an impression. They are hungry for the opportunity, they want to learn and are fresh with new ideas without many preconceptions.
Notoriously, apprentices are younger and other members of the team are open to helping them and pass on their knowledge which in turn improves communication and morale.
Between the apprentice, the colleagues, the business owner, the business itself and the wider UK economy, there is a wide range of benefits to be had from apprentices. It’s a win-win situation all around.
Finally, a company that is willing to invest in people by supporting apprenticeships is showing a positive approach to Corporate Social Responsibility, which is good for attracting both customers and future high-quality staff.