5 Reasons an Apprentice Can Benefit Your Business

Experienced business owner Jason Holt outlines why start-ups and businesses should consider taking on an apprentice.

5 Reasons an Apprentice Can Benefit Your Business

With the government planning for 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, I wanted to identify the key ways – from bring innovation to a company to helping your business find new talent – an apprentice can be a big benefit to your business’ progress and success.

Here are just five reasons why start-ups and fledgling businesses should get on-board with apprenticeships.

Apprentices deliver for employers of all sizes

Nine in 10 employers enjoyed tangible commercial benefits as a result of hiring an apprentice, with employers reporting improved skills levels, service, morale and productivity as a direct result of taking on an apprentice.

For instance, the average apprenticeship completer is estimated to increase business productivity by £214 per week and with gains also including increased profitability and greater efficiency.

Grow your business through apprenticeships

Apprenticeships offer a way for firms to grow their own talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

Essex-based dog grooming salon and Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer, Paw-Fect, has done just that. Founded in 2011, the small business looked to apprenticeships to grow and meet increased client demand. The firm’s founder Stacy Ismael explains:

“Apprenticeships have transformed the business from me working alone to being part of a fantastic team. The increase in capacity has led us to take on many new clients, who can have their dogs groomed within our target timescale and each dog treated with the skill and care it deserves. Due to apprenticeships, the future of my company is looking dramatically different to what I could have achieved on my own.”

Build the skills you need for your business’ future

Apprenticeships now cover more than 170 industries and 1,500 job roles, from advertising to youth work via environmental engineering and nuclear decommissioning. So whatever the focus of your firm there is likely to be an apprenticeship to suit your industry. You could even look to offer a Higher Apprenticeship, training your apprentice to degree level, in the industry specific skills that are critical for your company’s growth.

Hiring apprentices breeds loyalty with customers and partners

Apprentice recruitment is increasingly regarded as responsible business practice. Significantly, one in five small and mid-sized enterprises questioned in a poll said they had been asked by clients or prospects about their apprentice recruitment policies, showing that your customers will care if your business is supporting UK employment and skills growth or not.

There is financial help available for companies considering running an apprenticeship programme

As well as dedicated small and mid-sized employer support from the National Apprenticeship Service, there is also funding available in the form of the Apprenticeship Grant for employers of 16-24 year olds.

The grant, which was recently extended until the end of 2015, supports businesses to recruit 16-24 years olds into employment through the apprenticeship programme. This is available to companies with under 50 staff, who are new to apprenticeships or haven’t enrolled a new recruit or existing employee onto an apprenticeship programme in the last 12 months. Employers can receive up to five grants in total to cover the cost of starting a new apprentice with each one worth £1,500.

Taking on an apprentice even in the early stages of your business can deliver huge commercial as well as social benefits. For more information on hiring apprentices and recruitment in general, have a look at Startups’ section on taking on staff here.

This article was written by James Holt CBE, small business apprenticeships ambassador and CEO of The Holts Group

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