Apprenticeship schemes are often overlooked by small businesses but they can be a huge asset to an organisation of any size. According to CIPD, every employer that takes on an apprentice (96%) reports a benefit to their business:
- 72% of businesses report improved productivity as a result of employing an apprentice
- 75% of apprentice employers say their apprentice program helped cut recruitment costs
- Improved brand image and greater customer satisfaction – 81% of customers favour a company which takes on apprentices
Over 130,000 businesses across the UK offer apprentice schemes, many receiving a grant or funding from the government. If you are thinking about employing an apprentice in the future, here are some key points to consider:
1) Recruitment and Financial Help
If your business has less than 50 employees and you take on an apprentice aged 16-24, you could be entitled to a £1,500 government grant. You can claim this grant for up to 5 apprentices.
If you own a business with less than 250 employees, the National Apprenticeship Service has a dedicated Small Business Team – helping SMEs find the perfect apprentice for their organisation.
2) Ensure Your Business Is An Apprentice Friendly Zone
Once you’ve found an apprentice, it is important that you evaluate whether your workplace is a safe environment for them to work. You should ask yourself the following questions – Have we recently reviewed our health and safety process? What risks will my apprentice be exposed to? It might be worth carrying out a risk assessment ahead of your apprentices first day on the job.
3) Benefits For Both Parties
Whilst hiring an apprentice can benefit your business by reducing your recruitment costs, increasing productivity and bringing the right practical skills and qualifications to your workforce, it is important to express the benefits for your apprentice as they tend to be loyal to the workplace that recruited them. You must by law make an apprentice agreement including the following that both you and the employee should sign:
- How long the apprenticeship is for
- The training they will receive
- Their working conditions
- The qualifications you are working towards
4) Paying For Apprentices
It is important that you pay your apprentice at least the National Minimum Wage for Apprentices which is currently £3.30 per hour. This rate is for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.
5) Check Your Insurance
You are required by law to take out employer liability insurance for people you employ. If you have already taken out a relevant policy, it is important that you check with your insurer that an apprentice is covered, your policy may need reviewing even if you take on an apprentice a short period of time.
Is your business covered for apprentices? Get in touch with The Insurance Octopus for a quote on a bespoke business insurance package tailored to your needs.