Opportunities of Apprenticeships

Do you, or could you, employ an apprentice or two? Taking on an apprentice could benefit your business as well as the individual concerned.

The Business Benefits

Your outsourced bookkeepers will know that, each time you take on one aged between 16 and 24, you will receive a grant of £1500 from the government, up to ten times. This applies to any business with under 1000 employees. Many employers believe that apprentices help to increase productivity and bump up the levels of motivation and job satisfaction among staff. Apprenticeships are available for older people but do not attract the government grant for employers.

In addition to receiving the grant to help with the wage bill for your young apprentices, this will not be as high as for other employees, as their minimum wage for the first year is currently only £2.65. In October it will rise, but only by a few pence. After year one, this minimum rate can change for those over 19. You are, of course free to pay them more if you wish.

An apprentice package includes an element of formal training for qualifications as well as learning on the job while working for you. This training is paid for by the government - in full for those up to age 18 and partially for those 19 or over. You, of course, just have to allow your apprentices the time for it, as they become more competent in the work they do for you, and require less on the job training and supervision as time goes by. In the current economic climate, apprenticeships are proving popular with small and micro businesses.

Benefits for Apprentices and the Community

For young people who currently have few options and job opportunities, an apprenticeship offers a way into a career. Anyone who is not qualified beyond Level 3 (A Levels) is eligible. The qualifications they gain will be nationally recognised, and they will have experience of the working environment and put their learning into practice in the work they do for you.

Everyone will benefit in the long run as workforce skills develop and more people become employed and eventually able to contribute. As an employer of one or more apprentices, you will be making your own extra contribution and giving something back for your own education and opportunities.

How it Works

There are three levels of apprenticeship offered and your commitment of between one and three years depends on this. If you would like to recruit an apprentice, you just need to contact the National Apprenticeship Scheme. If you are based in England their freephone number is 08000 150 600. Other numbers apply for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Or you can complete a form on their website.

You'll then receive a pre-arranged visit from a consultant who will discuss what you need and guide you through the steps of finding the right apprenticeship training provider, recruiting the apprentice, and obtaining the funding. If it all seems too time consuming, you can even have an agency do this work for you.

Why not ask your outsourced bookkeepers for their opinion. They may know of other local businesses which have apprentices, and how it has worked for them.

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