Ask James Caan 27th January 2011
This week, James Caan highlights the importance of apprenticeships, what they entail and how they can re-invigorate a workforce.
This week I’d like to turn your attention to the importance of apprenticeships, thanks to an email from Steve.
Steve, a National Business Development Director, wrote to me highlighting the need for employers to engage with apprentices and the value they can deliver to a company.
‘Due to austerity measures the Government has cut train to gain funding which for good or bad has happened.
Steve, apprenticeships are a fantastic way of nurturing new talent and delivering real business benefit, and your letter highlights the need to increase awareness of them amongst employers.
‘However the apprentices’ funding is still there yet many companies will not take up the funding. Our company started doing apprentices about 10 months ago and we have an event to celebrate this on the 10th of February and we have some 75 students gaining certificates for apprentice in Security, Health and social care and Admin and Customer services.
‘One year ago these young people had no wage, no job, no qualifications. Now they have all three and do a great job. Yet when talking to employers, they appear to think apprentices are not for them as they may take too long, will not be able to do a full job or due to youth, will not be contentiousness enough.
‘I think it is the name ‘Apprentice’ – what are your thoughts on to ways to engage the employers?’
There may be a number of reasons why some employers aren’t taking advantage of this funding. Maybe the economic period has restricted recruitment for the SME owner, or perhaps they are unaware of what apprenticeships entail and how they can benefit their organisation. Either way, if you’re a business owner thinking of ways to increase your team’s skill base, I’d recommend exploring them.
Apprenticeships provide people with on-the-job training with the aim of obtaining nationally-recognised qualifications. I think they are an incredibly effective way of identifying up-and-coming talent. What is tremendous about them is that it’s not just the apprentice that benefits – as a business owner you can learn a lot too. An apprentice’s enthusiasm can inject a new lease of life onto a project or make you re-think old practices.
Steve, what your company is offering – the apprenticeships, events and celebration of students’ achievements – is a fantastic thing, something I believe more businesses should be doing. It is a testament to just how successful they can be – maybe it is worth considering inviting businesses in your area to show the scheme’s advantages (and of course how your business is benefiting!)
Apprenticeships can reinvigorate a workforce, develop your company’s skill base and in some cases, increase retention rates. They are also available in a wide range of industries, are suited to all ages and in today’s competitive climate, provide a great way to make someone stand out from the crowd.
There is support and funding available too. For more information, visit The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) website for further details (http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/Employers/Training-and-Funding.aspx)
If you’re a small business owner concerned about the time and resources it may take to invest in an apprenticeship, take a moment to think long-term. Be open to new ideas, find out about successful case studies and talk to others offering the schemes to learn about the real business benefit. I think you will be surprised.
Hiring now? http://www.webrecruit.co.uk/submit-a-vacancy.htm