Four ways an apprentice will help your business this summer

Kate Palmer - HR Advice and Consultancy Director

June 08 2021

As school finishes for sixteen-year-olds, it’s the perfect time to hire an apprentice.

If you’ve never considered the scheme before, see how your business could benefit…

1. You can fill skill gaps within your workplace

Training your employees with new skills isn’t cheap. But often, it’s a necessary expense.

When you hire an apprentice, however, you receive funding to fill skill gaps within your business.

So if you manage a hair salon, for example, you might need staff to specialise in a particular kind of hair colouring technique. Or if you run a small business, you could attract new customers if someone in your team trained in social media marketing.

If an apprentice took on these skills – instead of another employee – it’s much cheaper. 

Because when you find relevant training for your apprentice, the government will cover the majority of the cost. The amount depends on whether or not you pay the apprentice levy – if you do pay the levy (if you have annual pay bill of more than £3 million), you receive 90 per cent of the cost. And if you don’t, you’re entitled to a generous 95 per cent.

You don’t need to hire a new apprentice to fill any skill gaps, either. You can move a current staff member onto the apprentice scheme. This means you need to terminate their existing contract and place them on a new apprenticeship contract.

2. It can boost productivity

Hiring an apprentice can actually boost efficiency throughout your entire business. In fact, a 2020 survey revealed a whopping 78% of employers found apprentices improved their workplace productivity.

As apprentices are often eager to learn new skills, their enthusiasm can spread. And as your apprentice learns the ropes, they ask plenty of interesting questions. This could mean your employees rethink any outdated or inefficient working practices.

And as three-quarters of employers with apprentices report a higher staff morale, it’s easy to see why their productivity is better. When your staff are happy, you get much more back in return.

3. You receive a generous incentive payment

The government is currently offering a £3,000 cash incentive if you hire an apprentice. But you need to be quick – this comes to an end in September.

As long as you’re investing the money into your business, you can spend this reward however you see fit.

This is on top of the existing £1,000 you can already receive for hiring an apprentice aged between 16 to 18, or under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan. Plus, if you have fewer than 50 employees, you can claim back 100% of apprenticeship costs when you hire an apprentice with the same criteria. 

With some employers eligible for up to £4,000 – and the money back to cover apprenticeship costs – the scheme is certainly attractive for small businesses.

And don’t forget, hiring an apprentice can save you money, too. That’s because, during the first year of the scheme, the minimum rate for apprentices is lower than the National Minimum Wage. You also pay a lower rate if your apprentice is aged 19 or younger.

4. It brings a new perspective to your business

Young or old, everyone can bring a new perspective to your business.

Whether it’s advanced technical skills or a keenness to learn new things, a younger addition to your team can breathe a new life into your business. Alternatively, hiring an older apprentice will bring a wealth of transferrable skills from previous roles. 

Either way, it’s why nearly three-quarters of employers found apprentices actually helped them improve the quality of their product or service. 

Interested in hiring an apprentice?

If you like the sound of hiring an apprentice, our employment law experts are here to help.

You can book a free call for advice on funding, hiring, employment conditions, and more. To claim your expert support, get in touch on 0800 028 2420 today.

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