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Apprenticeships – Should more employers offer them?

By recruitment expert and AMR Regional Director Graham Green

National Apprenticeship Week takes place from 3rd to 7th March 2014, with the aim of raising the profile of apprenticeships amongst employers and apprentices alike. Apprenticeships have seen a popular revival in recent years, helped by the Government’s encouragement and assistance, and the introduction of the AGE 16 to 24 Grant for Employers which supports businesses recruiting individuals aged 16 to 24 through the Apprenticeship programme.

Alongside this, the sharp increase in university tuition fees has meant that more and more students are shunning university in favour of apprenticeship schemes.   And, as the education-leaving age has risen to 18, more students are opting to enrol in apprenticeships rather than staying in formal education.

Taking part in an apprenticeship scheme can sometimes be an easier foot in the door to a desired industry or company, rather than applying after university. The benefits to the apprentice mean they are often exposed to more of the company’s workings, than say an intern, as the philosophy is to learn by seeing and doing, plus they get paid at least the minimum wage. Learning on the job can reap greater rewards and faster career progression, whilst the company will hopefully gain an enthusiastic and loyal team member who will become fully-versed in the company’s culture and industry ideals.

So, should more UK employers take part in apprenticeship schemes?

Although there seems to be a fair amount of bureaucracy involved in setting up an apprenticeship scheme, such as curriculums to follow, the benefits can far out-weigh the negatives.  Employers are able to mould young people and teach them about their business from the outset of their careers - choosing the right person will usually mean getting someone who is fresh, enthusiastic, loyal and keen to learn.

As apprentices learn ‘off-the-job’ too, usually on a college course, they will be kept abreast of new technologies and business procedures which can help to keep your company up-to-date and have a renewed vigour.

If an employer chooses an apprentice who is aged between 16 and 18, the Government will currently pay the full costs of ‘off-the-job’ training during the apprenticeship and there are monetary incentives to boot, such as grants. If the apprentice is aged between 19 and 24, then 50% of the cost is paid and for over 25s, the employer may only get a contribution towards the costs. Employers may also be eligible for a grant of up to £1,500 if they are a small to medium sized company, in addition to some other training costs they may be able to claim for.

Apprenticeship schemes don’t just cover the manual labour industries either. They are available in most sectors, from hairdressing to estate agents, so there is a wide choice of schemes available to young people and employers alike.

For more information about apprenticeships, visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

If you are looking for a new challenge or promotion in the property or finance industries, contact AMR Recruitment on 0800 244044.

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