Lord Sugar’s The Apprentice may have been going strong since 2005. But for the budding business leaders of tomorrow, the journey is just getting started. And that’s where National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) comes in.
Since 2007, this event has brought together businesses and apprentices all across the country. It aims to highlight the positive impact that apprenticeships can have on individuals, businesses, and the economy as a whole, encouraging the next generation to achieve their full potential. . This year’s NAW runs this week (from 6th to the 12th of February) and focuses on the theme, “skills for life”.
An apprenticeship (not to be confused with an internship) is a paid job that involves both on- and off-the-job training . It’s a combination which allows the employee to learn while gaining valuable work experience. Once they’ve completed the apprenticeship, they’ll also receive a qualification in their chosen sector (up to degree level).
During their time with you as an apprentice, you would provide:
- Paid employment with an entitlement to holiday leave and sick pay
- Hands-on experience in a role of interest
At least 20 percent of the total contracted hours allotted for completing off-the-job training with a college, university, or training provider & a formal assessment that leads to a nationally-recognised qualification
Apprenticeships have a long history in the UK and have been a rich source of upcoming talent since the 12th century. Most often, these apprenticeships involved skilled craftsmen such as blacksmiths and carpenters training young boys to work with them.
Of course, things have changed a lot since then! These days, there are over 600 different apprenticeships to choose from. And no matter what field someone is interested in – from data analysis to development – there’s likely an apprenticeship for them.
Despite all this, there are many stereotypes surrounding the concept of apprenticeships. Most people assume that apprentices work primarily in the construction sector. While there’s a lot of interest in construction apprenticeships, some of the most popular UK apprenticeships relate to business, law, healthcare, and engineering.
UK apprenticeships are open to everyone over the age of 16 living in the UK and have no upper age limit. England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland all have their own specific apprenticeship websites and processes. They can take anywhere from one year to six years to complete. Because of this time commitment, they work best for those who are serious about a career change.
Requirements for apprenticeships vary depending on the level and sector, but many do require previous qualifications, such as a GCSE in maths or English.
Although they demand a serious commitment from both sides, apprenticeships offer many benefits for employees and employers alike.
For Apprentices they’re an exciting option for anyone wanting to gain experience, up-skill, or change careers. And as paid employment, they offer apprentices the chance to earn a wage while working in their chosen role.
Taking on an apprentice can provide a great boost to your business in terms of encouraging employee motivation, closing skills gaps. And all at an affordable price. Many take advantage of government funding through the Government’s apprenticeship levy scheme which encourages businesses to take on apprentices by providing funding. If you’re a levy-paying employer, you can use the funds in your account to cover the cost of apprenticeship training and assessment. And for non-levy paying employers, you can share the cost of apprenticeship training with the government.
You’ll also find that coaching and mentoring apprentices will bring out the best in your existing team. The result will be a high-calibre workforce with a true culture of unity.
Offering an apprenticeship within your organisation provides a fantastic incentive to potential job applicants which will enable you to choose from the best and brightest new talent out there in the job market. What’s more, as apprenticeships really aren’t an easy ride for applicants (having to work 80 percent of a full-time role while studying takes a lot of dedication and hard work!) you’ll be there to provide support from the start.
Whether your company already has an apprenticeship scheme in place or you’re considering bringing apprentices into the fold, National Apprentice Week provides lots of great ways to connect with new apprentices.
Wondering how hiring apprentices could benefit your company? If so, we have the support, insight, and tools you’ll need for every step of your employee journey. Get in touch with us here at The HR Hub today to find out more about how we can help you create employee magic within your organisation!
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