The pandemic is continuing to leave a huge mark across the nation’s business community.
Jobs have been lost, businesses mothballed, and spending slashed as worried workers rein in their expenditure amid the ongoing uncertainty of what might happen next.
So it might seem an odd time to be thinking about taking new staff on. But by using the apprenticeship scheme companies can not only give a valuable opportunity to new starters, but also do so in a cost-effective way.
Although there is a certain amount of paperwork involved, hiring an apprentice can be an effective way for you to boost your headcount, bring in fresh talent and also demonstrate your social responsibility.
One of the key benefits of taking on an apprentice is that it is a cost-effective way of recruiting new personnel. Of course, you have to put the time into training and the apprentice will have little experience, so this benefit comes at something of a cost.
But the upside is that the rate of pay is extremely attractive – currently a national minimum of £4.15 per hour - and the Government also offers an incentive of £1,000 to the business for taking them on. In fact, there is currently an additional bonus of £2,000 if you can get an apprentice aged between 16-24 on board before March 31.
The apprenticeship levy is paid only by big employers, so if your annual salary bill is below £3 million you’re likely to pay only around five per cent of the cost of an apprenticeship, with the government picking up the rest.
There may be an additional input in terms of training and mentoring with apprentices, but the long-term benefits can be more than worthwhile.
By taking apprentices on in the first place – and then training and developing them – you naturally build in a huge amount of loyalty, meaning they are more likely to commit to you in the long-term providing a valuable return on the original training.
And, of course, you know just what training you have given your apprentices, meaning you have confidence that they have been taught in just the right way to meet your business requirements.
Apprentices also give you another advantage in that they represent fresh blood in your business, often from a demographic that is not widely represented. This means they can often show you things you might not already know (digital and social media skills are a prime example) and introduce fresh ideas into the business.
Alongside apprenticeships the Government is also running the Kickstart Scheme, which provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment.
Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:
- 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months
- associated employer National Insurance contributions
- employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions
Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021 and it is possible to transfer participants onto an apprenticeship in due course.
There are downsides of course to these schemes. Motivation can be hard on low pay and there is a substantial amount of red tape at times. But it is certainly worth considering in the current climate.
If you want to know more about apprenticeships and the kickstarter scheme we are happy to help. Just contact us on the link.