Is it worth hiring an apprentice?

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Taking on an apprentice in your business can feel like a significant commitment and investment (of both time and resources) so it’s easy to see why many business owners ask “is it really worth hiring an apprentice?”

In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of apprenticeships for businesses as well as address common concerns employers often have before hiring an apprentice for the first time.

Benefits of apprenticeships for businesses

There are many benefits of apprenticeship schemes to employers of all sizes. In particular, hiring apprentices or upskilling staff with apprenticeships can help you:

  • Bridge the skills gap in your workforce
  • Ensure practical and technical skills are high-quality
  • Future proof business
  • Support career progression
  • Improve staff retention
  • Develop future business leaders 
  • Build your reputation

Read more: 5 reasons every business should recruit an apprentice

Common concerns about apprenticeships

Hiring an apprentice as a sole trader

Sole traders are eligible for the same level of funding for apprenticeship schemes as businesses with fewer than 50 employees – i.e. 100% funding for apprentices aged 16-18 and 95% funding for apprentices aged 18+.  
However, sole traders will first need to register as an employer with the HMRC to receive an Accounts Office reference number that will enable them to pay apprentices through the PAYE system.  

Learn more: Can your business use apprenticeship schemes?

Recruiting an apprentice

The process of recruiting an apprentice can seem daunting to many employers – however, there is plenty of help available. Total People Connect is our apprentice recruitment service, free to any businesses who plan to use us as their apprenticeship training provider. We help employers advertise their vacancies, review CVs, select candidates, prepare interviews, and provide post-interview feedback. 

Funding Apprenticeship Training

Many small businesses may be put off apprenticeships because of the costs associated with training an employee. However, SMEs with a wage bill below £3 million are eligible for 95-100 per cent apprenticeship funding from the government.

Apprenticeship Wages

As an employer, you must pay apprentices at least the minimum apprenticeship wage rate of £4.81 if they are under 19 OR over 19 and in their first year of the apprenticeship.  If your apprentice is over 19 and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, you must pay them at least minimum wage for their age.

Apprenticeship grants can help towards the cost of taking on an apprentice including wages and equipment, minimising the financial risk to your company and allowing you to grow more effectively. 

Training apprentices

We get it, you are an expert in your industry, not a training specialist. While your business is responsible for providing real-life hands-on industry experiences, our training advisors will support you and your apprentice with a programme of learning and one-to-one sessions that builds to an industry-recognised qualification. This allows you to focus on running your business rather than training employees. 

Need help with hiring an apprentice?  

Our expert team is available to support you every step of the way and we can: 

  • Set up your Apprenticeship Service account 
  • Reserve apprenticeship funds on your behalf 
  • Advertise your apprenticeship vacancy (if required) 
  • Provide support to find and recruit an apprentice  
  • Start training

Find out more about apprenticeships for employers or call our team of friendly experts on 03333 222 666

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