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Are apprenticeships the right fit for my business?

When companies are in the process of hiring new staff, they often look towards the better qualified candidates, or those with more work experience. This may work for the majority of companies who want to hire fast without additional training being provided, but could it work for you, or could you look for an apprentice?

What are apprentices?

An apprentice is a person who is hired to fill a position while also learning a new trade or skill. For the candidate this has the added benefit of earning them additional recognised qualifications. For the employer there is an additional benefit too; this comes in the form of lower wages.

According to apprentices are entitled to the apprentice wage rate if they're either:

  • aged under 19
  • aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship

An example they give is:

An apprentice aged 22 in the first year of their apprenticeship is entitled to a minimum hourly rate of £3.50

Apprentices are entitled to the minimum wage for their age if they both:

  • are aged 19 or over
  • have completed the first year of their apprenticeship

The example given for this:

An apprentice aged 22 who has completed the first year of their apprenticeship is entitled to a minimum hourly rate of £7.05

However, an apprentice isn't just about the lower wages. While you may be able to pay them less, there are benefits that come with the way they work and learn too.

But are they right for me?

This depends on your company. If you're looking to hire someone who can quickly adapt to what you're asking of them, then you should look at taking on a regular employee who already has the experience. But if you don't mind putting in extra time and effort that an apprentice may require then you can reap bigger rewards.

Having an employee who has worked for other organisations will come with knowledge of how things are run in the other places, which isn't necessarily how they're run in your company. The only way you're going to have an employee pick up things exactly how you want them to is by having them fresh from school or college and moulding them to how you need them to be. This can be what an apprenticeship can do for your company.

Plumber working on a sink

There's no one size fits all" when it comes to things like this, you just have to research everything and weigh up whether the benefits will outweigh the negatives. It may help to speak to a recruitment specialist or consultant to see if they can help, either with advice or the recruitment process itself.

So how do I hire an apprentice?

This depends on where the job would be based within the UK. Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales all have different resources you can look at if you're interested in hiring an apprentice.

If you're based in Scotland, look at the Apprenticeships Scot website where you can find information relevant to Scotland.

The NI Direct Government Services website can give you information relevant to Northern Ireland

If you're based in England you should take a look at the 'Get In Go Far' website.

And finally, if you're based in Wales you should take a look at Careers Wales which can also give any information in Welsh as well as English.

So to Sum it up

There are a few things to consider if you're looking to hire an apprentice, will they be the right fit for you; can you legally pay them less; will they add value to your workforce? These are things that you will have to consider before deciding whether or not to hire them. But remember, there are help guides out there and places you can go to ask any further questions you may have.

All information is correct at the time of posting

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