National Apprenticeship Week And Beyond

9th – 13th March – National Apprenticeship Week

This week, 9th -13th March, is National Apprenticeship Week and there are events taking place all over England to promote both the week but, more importantly, the benefits of apprenticeships both to employers and to those employees learning their craft via the scheme. As more people undertake apprenticeships, the government is keen to stress that there is increasing evidence that apprenticeships have a positive impact on the people who undertake them, the businesses that offer them an on the UK economy as a whole.

So, it seems as though apprenticeships can be a win win for everyone. What do you think? Is your company currently running apprenticeship programmes for staff? Or perhaps you are thinking about introducing them as part of your firm’s recruitment strategies, maybe as a way to boost your staff retention but also to invest in your staff to make sure they are performing to their best of their ability for your company and feeling fulfilled in their role. Talented staff who feel valued and fulfilled in their role are much more likely to stay around with your firm rather than a team who feels ignored and unappreciated.

The Government And National Apprenticeship Week

So, what is National Apprenticeship Week all about and where do the government come into this? If you are an employer, it is likely that you are already more than aware that the government are really investing a lot of energy into apprenticeships. They provide funding and for them and see apprenticeships as crucial to the future success of the British economy – that’s why they would like more people to get involved (they want to see more apprentices in the workplace and more companies offering them) and they are also keen to stress the benefits of apprenticeships to businesses who adopt them.

National Apprenticeship week is an ideal opportunity to promote apprenticeships and from a government point of view, this is also an opportunity to highlight apprentices and those businesses that offer apprenticeship programmes whilst also inspiring further businesses to get involved. As apprenticeships provide a way to earn and learn within a structured framework where qualifications and skills are nationally recognised, they can be a cost-efficient way for businesses to train the best talent in the knowledge that that training is valuable and effective.

Apprenticeships Facts – Did You Know… ?

So with young people and employers gaining mutual benefit from apprenticeships, let’s take a look at some facts and figures around apprenticeship schemes that might be of interest to employers:

Apprenticeships Have Benefits For Employers

Many employers, almost 90% in fact, have stated that taking on apprentices has benefited their business in some way. Because apprentices are committed to learning new skills within a company, employers are reporting an average increase in productivity by £214 per week. As well as financial gain, some employers have also said they have seen improvements to the quality of the products and services they offer.

Apprenticeships Can Benefit Lots Of Different Types Of Businesses

If you are an employer who owns or works within a small or medium sized business, there is no need to be put off thinking about implementing apprenticeships within your company. Businesses of all sizes and sectors – not just large firms – are now offering apprenticeships. In the past, apprenticeships were traditionally associated with young men learning a trade such as plumbing or joinery. That has all changed, now. Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of sectors and women take up 55% of available apprenticeships. Could your company be one of those firms that benefits from the introduction of apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships Have Financial Incentives For Employers

As well as the financial gains from productivity, by investing in staff via apprenticeships, employers benefit financially in other ways, too: There is government funding – an investment of 1.5 billion pounds in the year 2013-2014, for example. And also, from April 2016, employers will no longer need to pay National Insurance contributions for apprentices under the age of 25 who are earning less than the upper wage limit. This is more financial incentive for employers who are considering taking on apprentices to get involved.

Apprenticeships Can Have Financial Incentives For Small Businesses

As mentioned above, taking on apprentices is not just exclusively for the larger businesses throughout England. If you are running a small business and think you have something to offer to apprentices while benefiting your own business, too, you could be eligible for a monetary grant to help you with that. This could mean you do not miss out on harnessing the best young talent just because you are a small business.

Apprenticeships Now Offer More Control For Employers

Some employers might have been put off introducing apprenticeships to their companies in the past because of a lack of control. Reforms have been, and are being, undertaken the apprenticeships which take this into consideration and now, you as an employer, can be more in the driver’s seat if you do decide to take on one or more apprentices.

Have You Seen The National Apprenticeship Service Pledge-o-meter?

National Apprenticeship Week is all about encouraging people and businesses to embrace apprenticeships and, where possible, to encourage employers to commit to taking apprentices on in the future. If you are a company who has not yet dipped your toes into the world of apprenticeships but you are seriously considering it, this week could be the week where you decide to bite the bullet and commit.

The Pledge-o-meter could be a great way of doing that. Last year, over 20,000 businesses wrote their pledge to get involved with apprenticeships in England and the National Apprenticeship Service is now working with those businesses who commit to pledging to offer apprenticeships make it happen.

This is the link to the pledge-o-meter form, if you wish to get involved. And, if you would like your pledge to go public and be one of the companies shouting loud and proud that you have committed to apprenticeships, at the end of National Apprenticeship Week, the National Apprenticeship Service will publish the list of employers and their pledges. (There is an option to opt out of the publicity if you wish.)

I’m Interested In Apprenticeships But Want To Do More Research First

Apprenticeships require both a commitment from you as an employer and from the apprentice themselves so of course, you are going to want to be fully versed on what is involved if you do decide to go the apprenticeship route. The overarching purpose of National Apprenticeship Week is to raise awareness by challenging how much we really know about apprenticeships so if you are looking to do more research, now could be the time. Let’s look at some useful links:

In the past, we have written about how more employers are benefiting from getting involved in apprenticeships and other programmes for young people. Click here to read about the possible benefits of offering apprenticeships.

If you want all the basics, or a general outline on the subject of apprenticeships you can read our article on our E4S student page, What Is An Apprenticeship.

If you are an employer who wants to commit to taking on one or more apprentices to your company but you aren’t sure if there are apprenticeships on offer within your business sector, you can see a list of the types of apprenticeships here. This link is also useful for further links that are of use to employers. And if you are committed and know you want to get involved, here is information about how to employ an apprentice.

Wherever you company is based, your local council could well have information about this week’s National Apprenticeship Week such as local events that might be taking place as well as other apprenticeship information that might be particularly relevant to your local area.

There can be a tendency with specially organised ‘days’ and ‘weeks’ to forget all about them once the event has passed us by but National Apprenticeship Week is all about awareness of apprenticeships for the future. So, if you are thinking you have already missed the boat, you haven’t. Use this week to do your research so that you can decide if you can really benefit young people and harness the best young talent by offering apprenticeships with your company.

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