Hiring an apprentice can be an extremely effective method of recruitment. Below is a summary of some of the key advantages and disadvantages of apprenticeships from an employers’ perspective to help businesses decide if hiring an apprentice could benefit them.
Advantages of hiring an apprentice:
Cost effective – Apprentices have little to no experience and take your time to train them, so you can pay them less (currently national minimum wage for an apprentice is £4.15 per hour). Furthermore, the government offer a £1000 incentive to businesses that employ an apprentice (there is currently an additional £2000 bonus to employers that take on an apprentice before 31st March 2021!).
Loyalty and retention – you have trained them and given them the opportunity to learn everything they know, so they are more likely to stay with you long term.
Well-trained – they are trained by you, and only you. They should not have picked up any bad habits that could damage your company reputation. By learning your way of doing things, you can be assured that they are representing your business exactly as you would.
Innovation – Apprentices are from a different demographic, a different generation, with a different perspective. They will also be doing 20% theory work in their field. They may learn a thing or two that they could show you!
Fulfilment – you get to watch them grow and develop into the great employee that you make them. It can be great for PR but also for your own sense of achievement and contribution to your local community.
Disadvantages of hiring an apprentice:
Time consuming – you have to invest a lot of your time. Not only will they be limited in their contribution in the first few months, they will likely slow you down too. You will need to be patient with them and accept that the return on investment will be slow.
Lack of commercial awareness and understanding – many may not have previously worked and they will have much to learn about business, customers and what it means to be an employee – as well as learning the job role.
Potential lack of engagement – they will be working hard, probably the same hours as you but for £4.15 per hour. You must be proactive in keeping them engaged through job satisfaction, good relationships with colleagues, recognition and reward etc.
It is important to weigh up the pros and cons before pursuing the apprenticeship route. Apprentices will require lots of time, patience and training and you must commit to allowing them 20% off the job training. However, if in a position to support an apprentice through their training, the return on investment of your time in their training for the future of your business can be remarkable. You will likely mould a loyal, well-trained employee that is invested in the business and share your desire to see it succeed.
If you are interested in discussing whether an apprentice could support your business to achieve its goals, please get in touch via our contact us page.