The Pros and Cons of an Apprenticeship – as an Employer

‘Apprenticeship’ is the buzz word amongst much of the nation’s dialogue on education in recent years but are they right for everyone?

Last week we covered how an apprenticeship might be a good option for an employee to enter their desired field of work. This week we will look at it from the employer’s perspective to see how, or if, hiring an apprentice can improve their business

The numbers of those young people wanting to enrol on an Agricultural apprenticeship has doubled in England over the past three years with each vacancy getting an average of 16 applicants. Therefore, more employers than ever are being encouraged to consider using an apprentice within their business to meet this high demand.

There are many reasons to consider this option. An apprenticeship can be tailored to suit the needs of your business and can be much more flexible than people think.

Pros

An enthusiastic worker
In most cases, your apprentice is not only interested in earning a wage but will also be looking to learn new skills in a sector that he/she aspires to work in. They will want to feel like a valued member of the team and the extra motivation to ensure that they pass their qualification will mean that they should be enthusiastic and hardworking.

Financial incentives
The government has pledged strong support to the apprenticeship programme in the UK and there are many financial incentives for employers. A grant is available for employers taking on an apprentice, of up to £1,500 depending on certain criteria being met, and up to 100% funding of the training cost which will be paid directly to the apprenticeship provider.

An employee that suits your company
Many apprentices will go on to become a full-time member of staff at the company that they completed their training with. This means that you will have a qualified member of staff who already has the necessary knowledge of the company to start working effectively and who will understand how to work in the ‘company way’.

Cons

Time-consuming
The above point can also be seen as a drawback of hiring an apprentice. Usually fresh out of school or college, an apprentice has no commercial experience in the sector. Yes, this means that an employer could mould them to the company’s specification, but this can be a time-consuming process compared to hiring an employee that already has relevant knowledge.

Administration
Hiring an apprentice can result on a lot of bureaucracy in the initial stages. Throughout their training you must then regularly review their progress and, if hired through a formal apprenticeship scheme, you must submit paperwork relating to their performance and progression.

Commitment
Ensuring commitment from your apprentice can sometimes be a problem. A young person who is fresh from school and will most likely still live at home is more likely to change their mind in terms of career direction than somebody has worked in the industry before and knows that they enjoy it.

For more information, view the Government guidance on hiring apprentices.

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