In today’s competitive and unpredictable job market, both school leavers and employers no longer view university degrees as a one-way ticket into the workplace.
Statistics show that young people are now viewing apprenticeships as a more viable option into a career instead of paying for an expensive and elongated degree. In 2015/16, there were 509,400 apprenticeship starts in England, 9,500 more than the previous year and 260,900 people successfully completed an apprenticeship in 2014/15, both figures are expected to increase this year. Via a number of government grants and schemes, small businesses can benefit greatly from the significant changes made to apprenticeship schemes in May 2017. Small businesses are a vital link in helping people start and complete their apprenticeships. Here's a few reasons why small businesses should hire one or more apprentices.
- Advantages for businesses: Apprentices usually embody highly motivated and enthusiastic individuals, with many recruitment experts stating that apprentices taken on in the past five years perform better in the workplace than those with a degree. They represent better value for money than hiring pricey skilled staff. The amount of training they receive often persuades apprentices to remain loyal to an employer, in particular if there's a clear opportunities to progress, which in the long run retains talent and reduces recruitment costs.
- Pros for school leavers: they experience the more hands on pace and receive a high quality of training whilst avoiding years of paying back student loans. One in five 16-18 year olds based in the UK recently told AAT that their strongest consideration for an apprenticeship over a degree would be the ability to avoid heavy university debt, and indeed one in two of them are currently seriously considering apprenticeships as their route into employment.
Highly skilled employees
- School leavers may come as a novice in the workplace but the high quality of training they receive along side the on-the-job opportunities means that they become highly skilled in relatively short space of time. The experience they gain while in the workplace is often missing from some graduate’s CV. Small businesses entering into an apprenticeship scheme can improve the company’s diversity as talent is selected from different social and ethnic backgrounds. These eager individuals can be learning and implementing the teachings from their apprenticeship course, while maintaining other skills.
- For 16-18 year olds, the Government will provide 100% of their apprenticeship funding, meaning that, at no cost to your business or the school leavers when completing their training or assessment requirements. Your only responsibility will therefore be to provide their pay and support for the actual jobs they carry out!
At Seven Property, since 2014 we have championed the positive impact apprentices bring to our independant business. Apprenticeships give our managers the opportunity to train a junior member of staff with the support of an academic structure, allowing the apprentice to study the theory whilst putting their new skills into practice with daily tasks. With the diverse nature of the industry it’s nice to develop and mentor our apprentices through the business, seeing their progress both professionally and personally.
Our current apprentices Levi and Florence explain why they chose an Apprenticeship.
“After completing my college course in vehicle technology I knew that working on vehicles was not for me. I wanted an apprenticeship in the trade (building and construction); however it took me a long time to achieve my goal, I am very happy now. Since starting at Seven Property I have assisted the Maintenance Operative Dave Botwright and external contractors with a major residential refurbishment and two kitchen installations. Working on continuously varying jobs that property maintenance throws at you, I have gained an insight on how diverse my working week can be, this is what I really like about this apprenticeship.” Levi Williams - Seven Property Maintenance Apprentice
“After completing my A Levels I knew that the property industry was the direction I wanted to take. Its consistently evolving nature intrigued me and its relevance to everyday life enforced my decision to get involved. In the first month of my property apprenticeship, I have gained insight into the varied yet detailed work carried out in order to maintain and utilize the properties to optimum efficiency. Opting out of the typical university pathway was a decision that required great consideration, however I am happy to say that an Apprenticeship was definitely the way forward for me. It offers me that opportunity to gain workplace experience whilst also attaining a qualification, which I personally view as the perfect balance.” Florence Bolton-Smith - Seven Property Apprentice
The new levy aims to address the chronic underinvestment in skills, simplify funding opportunities for business, and ensure a greater focus on training for the nation’s workers. All small businesses should be encouraged to utilize the new apprenticship schemes and the next generation of employees they will bring. The right candidates can become a valuable asset to the team, leading to an excellent long-term investment for your business.