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Why apprenticeships make sense for SMEs

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by Startacus Admin

national apprenticeship week
National Apprenticeship Week 2018
takes place from 5 to 9 March. It will be a week-long celebration of apprenticeships in England designed to showcase how apprenticeships work for individuals, businesses, communities and the wider economy.

During the Week, employers and apprentices from across England will come together to celebrate the success of apprenticeships while encouraging even more people to choose an apprenticeship as the pathway to a great career.

Ahead of National Apprenticeship Week, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service  Sue Husband explains how hiring an apprentice could boost business if you’re an SME.

Apprentices boost business performance

Apprenticeships provide employers with the skills to grow their business, boost productivity and help the economy prosper. Last year, SMEs recruited national apprenticeship weekover 200,000 new apprentices, playing a vital role in helping more young people get their foot in the door at leading companies across the country. More than 24,000 apprentice-employing SMEs in the private sector say hiring an apprentice has helped them win business, with three quarters also reporting increased productivity.

Your training costs are covered

If you’re an SME with a pay bill under £3m then you don’t pay the Apprenticeship Levy, but the Government will still pay 90% of your training and assessment costs. You can use funds to train new recruits or upskill your existing workforce – employees with existing qualifications can undertake an apprenticeship if it’s relevant to their role and the most appropriate way of developing their career.

There are bonuses for small employers

Government reforms are ensuring that apprenticeships help people of all ages and backgrounds to progress in work and life. Small employers can play a vital role in helping even more people to benefit from the increased wage and employment prospects that apprenticeships offer. If you take on a 16-18-year-old, or a 19-24-year-old that has previously been in care, then you could get an extra £1000 grant. If you’re a business with under 50 staff hiring an apprentice aged 16-18, 100% of training and assessment costs will be paid for. And if you take on an apprentice with additional learning needs, further support is also be available.

Take advantage of new apprenticeships

apprenticeshipsThere are now more high-quality apprenticeships on offer to help employers grow, whether that’s recruiting new people or re-training and upskilling existing staff. These have been developed by employers themselves across a wide range of industries, meaning apprenticeships are more relevant than ever to sector needs. Higher Apprenticeships in particular mean businesses can train more of their employees in the high-level skills that are critical for business growth, while offering ambitious school leavers or experienced professionals looking to upskill the opportunity to learn at university, to degree level.

Boost employee retention and morale

Apprentices bring enthusiasm, ideas and new ways of thinking to any organisation – and particularly for SMEs. Over two-thirds say that hiring an apprentice has improved staff retention with three quarters saying it has boosted staff morale. In fact, nearly all SMEs (96%) report at least one business benefit to hiring an apprentice – and the Federation of Small Businesses says that its members are taking on more apprentices than ever before. On top of this, 85% of apprentices stay in employment after their apprenticeship ends and the same number say it has improved their career prospects – good for all involved.

Get support from larger employers

If you’re a non-levy paying SME that is a supplier to a larger levy paying employer, you could soon work with them to access funding for apprenticeships. From April 2018, the government plans to allow levy-paying employers to transfer funds to other employers, through the apprenticeship service. Levy-paying employers will initially be able to transfer up to 10% of the annual value of funds entering their apprenticeship service account to any employer, including smaller employers in their supply chain. This is just one of the ways that government reforms are working to improve the quality of apprenticeships for all, providing the skills that employers need to reach our commitment of 3 million starts in England by 2020.

Sue Husband, Director, National Apprenticeship Service

To find out more about taking on an apprentice visit:

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Published on: 27th February 2018

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