Apprenticeships – Pros & Cons

So you think taking on an apprentice is a cheap and easy way of obtaining new fresh blood for your business, especially with the option of getting a grant towards the cost? Not necessarily…

Taking on an apprentice can be an appealing option, especially to small companies who may need some young blood injected into the company or who just can’t afford the ridiculous recruitment fees and higher salaries demanded by experienced workers.
An apprentice can help a business ‘fill the gap’ when they’ve taken on a new contract or even when the workload gets too much for the current workforce. But what other factors should you consider when looking at taking on an apprentice?

Experience – there’s 2 ways of looking at a potential apprentice with limited experience. Either, it’s a good thing, as you can say ‘this is how we do it here’ and with not really knowing any different, they should perform how you want them to and use the same systems as any other employees. Or, it’s not such a good thing, as they are not used to the way things work and may not like being told what to do and how to do it. They may have their own ideas on how something should be done and try to change your systems, and therefore potentially upset the apple cart with any existing employees.

Behaviour – some employers have been known to actually have to ask the apprentice to leave due to their behaviour or lack of professionalism. Obviously this is not all apprentices and most are very polite and conscientious. Although these few can give the scheme a bad name, that’s not to say you shouldn’t try it. Even those employees who have suffered a ‘bad apple’ have gone on to take on other apprentices with great success. And even offer them permanent employment once the contract ends.

Social – Social benefits, such as reducing unemployment in your local area and also inspiring a future generation of business owners by passing on entrepreneurial skills and experience can be a great reason for taking on an apprentice. Obviously it won’t make much of a dent on the current 1.8 million unemployed in the UK. But it does show that you care, to your current and future employees and to your customers.

Funding – an employer that hasn’t taken on an apprentice in the last year may be eligible to receive a grant of £1,500. But there a few hoops to jump through to gain access to the grant, no surprise there!

So there you go, a few things to think about before making the decision to take on an apprentice 🙂

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