In my experience, Apprenticeships have occasionally been unfairly considered as an alternative route for an individual who has not succeeded in school, sixth form, college or university – and particularly for support roles ie customer service, HR and business admin.
This perception however, hasn’t been as common in engineering and hands on technical roles – where individuals are expected to learn and fulfill an actual physical job.
I, for one, have recruited numerous Apprentices and employed Apprentices within my own teams. I can say I have been blessed – absolutely blessed – with the individuals I have had working with me and I whole heartedly believe that perceptions should be updated to really empower the Apprenticeship message.
With the Apprenticeship Levy coming into force in April 2017 the traditional ‘frameworks’ and training offered to individuals has completely changed. Employers have had so much more interaction with the new ‘standards’ which ensures learning is now business focused and specific to certain industries and disciplines.
Apprenticeship schemes are now being considered alongside the more ‘traditional’ route of university and for all individuals it allows them to ‘earn as they learn’ and to be ahead of the curve when it comes to dealing with the work environment and all the challenges and mind sets required for the world of work.
Apprenticeships are now also offered at senior level and the Apprenticeship Levy can be used for a level 6 and 7 Apprenticeship, which equates to a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. An individual can now complete an Apprenticeship after completing a previous Degree – this demonstrates the calibre and added value an Apprenticeship programme can bring.
With 147 new ‘standards’ (formally ‘frameworks’) approved for delivery in disciplines such as technology, finance, marketing, business and sales and over 177 in further development – Apprenticeships can fit into almost all industries, sectors and disciplines.
With investment, an Apprentice will add value while learning, can work a minimum of 30 hours per week and they must have at least 20% off-the-job training which is required to be included in the working hours. The National Minimum Wage (NMW) for Apprentices is £3.70 per hour for anyone aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in their first year of their Apprenticeship (as from April 2018). Apprentices aged 25 and over, not in their first year, will be entitled to the National Minimum Wage.
So my opinion is…do it, embrace Apprentices! They are a source of succession planning, which give you loyalty and commitment as you will be investing in their training, and they will have bags of focus and commitment to their chosen discipline.
SEAO Talent Partners can support you to recruit the very best Apprenticeship talent. Contact us on 0191 211 1470 for further information.
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