Apprenticeships give you the opportunity to improve your workforce by training new or existing employees. This may include a qualification, depending on the Apprenticeship Standard criteria.
Often thought of as on-the-job training, in days gone by that was all apprenticeships involved. Modern apprenticeships also have off-the-job training, which is an important addition to make sure that apprentices not only know the job they are doing, but also the theory behind why they do that job, and what to do if things go wrong.
If you are considering taking on an apprentice, there are some things you need to know. Unlike Alan Sugar, you don’t just set your apprentices bizarre business tasks and then gather them each week in a boardroom to tell one of them “You’re fired!”
Training an apprentice is much like taking on a new employee, in that you need to show them the ropes of the job. You also need to give them time out from that job to improve their academic skills. 20% of an apprentice’s contracted hours should be spent off-the-job completing training and learning. That means you still get them for 80% of their employed time, during which they need to be learning on-the-job by doing what you hired them to do.
Apprentices have certain rights and should be treated like your other employees. They should get the same benefits as other employees and be paid at least minimum wage for an apprenticeship.
The current minimum wage for an apprentice is £3.70 per hour.
There are other minimums to consider, too:
- Minimum 12 months employment to finish the apprenticeship;
- Minimum 30 hours employment per week during the apprenticeship.
Making sure apprentices are looked after like any other employee means they become part of the team. That way, if you choose to keep employing them after they have finished their apprenticeship, they will be a better worker and more valuable to you.
There are three steps to an apprenticeship:
The apprentice is assigned a Tutor.
The apprentice gains knowledge, skills and experience from their Tutor and at work on-the-job.
The apprentice will undertake a final assessment with an outside organisation.
There are several legislative responsibilities to consider:
All apprentices must be kept safe from harm and any concerns for their welfare or wellbeing reported to the training provider.
Radicalisation and links to or involvement with terrorism must be prevented, including online and in-person interactions, and access to materials that could radicalise.
Equality & Diversity
Apprentices must be free from any discrimination within the workplace, as per the nine protected characteristics of the Equality Act: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation.
Diversity and support of the rule of law should be integral to company ethics and central to the apprenticeship.
Health & Safety
The safety and health of apprentices must be maintained at all times, as per company policies and Health & Safety legislation.
The part you play in an apprenticeship is very important, and there are three things you need to do:
Agree on an action plan including learning and work-based goals.
Ensure the apprentice is completing work and training to support their success.
Manage apprentice and support their journey.
To begin the search for an apprentice, or look at training your existing staff, talk to a training provider like SEK Training.