1. Review your current training needs to meet your businesses needs and see if apprenticeships could meet these. You can up skill your existing staff to meet the business need and build a better workforce who feel that their employer is investing in them.
2. Apprenticeships now apply to business roles beyond the shop floor. Did you know that there are apprenticeships for HR partner/consultant, accountancy, credit control, sales roles, marketing and project management. Recruitment for these roles often takes place to deal with an issue quickly or to get a fully formed and experienced person in place and the apprenticeship role is not suited to that scenario BUT it should be remembered that an apprentice will develop into the role and will have a thorough understanding of the Company and its ways of working and potentially greater loyalty.
3. The Centre for Economic and Business Research found businesses can expect a positive net gain of £13,824 per year for each leadership and management apprentice they hire (cebr.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/The-Benefits-of-Apprenticeships-to-Businesses.pdf). In the short term they provide a higher return on investment than in areas more typically associated with apprenticeships, including hospitality, construction and health and social care.
There are a number of apprenticeship levels available for training business leaders depending on where they are in their career. Level 3 apprenticeships, such as the Team Leader and Supervisor course, are equivalent to an A level. Higher level courses, such as the Operations and Departmental Manager apprenticeship, can be equivalent to a higher education or foundation degree. There are even degree and master’s degree level apprenticeships, for example Chartered Manager or Senior Leader qualifications respectively.
4. All apprentices have to spend at least 20 per cent of their time on off-the-job training, but many employers baulk at the idea of losing an employee for what is the equivalent of one day a week.
The solution could be online training, which allows apprentices to learn in bite-sized chunks throughout the week instead of taking days out from the office, spreading their learning and making it more flexible. It also allows apprentices to set their own schedules around everyday tasks. Being on location is an added bonus: not only does it allow apprentices to seek advice from colleagues as needed, it also makes them available for last-minute meetings or unexpected tasks.
5. There’s a common misconception among employers and employees alike that apprenticeships are just for the young. But there’s absolutely no reason why older workers can’t also take part, says Patrick Thomson, senior programme manager for fulfilling work at the Centre for Ageing Better. With an increasing number of older workers in the workforce, upskilling and reskilling is more important than ever.
6. Alternatively, there are a whole host of apprenticeships standards besides the run of the mill courses. The Retailer apprenticeship standard, which saw 2,200 starts in 2016/17, was the most popular, but employers haven’t even scratched the surface. How about an apprenticeship as a dog groomer, or an animal keeper, or even a maritime caterer?
“The Apprenticeship Levy has the potential to play a pivotal role in reversing the trends of skills shortages and low productivity in this country,” said Lady Cobham (Lady Cobham CBE is director general of The 5% Club, an employer-led organisation which encourages employers to create as many “earn and learn” opportunities as possible). “It also has the ability to ensure businesses are able to attract people from all backgrounds, the key to improving social mobility in the UK.”
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