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Why there’s never been a better time to take on an apprentice

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6th March 2019

At Eurocell, we’re big advocates of apprenticeships and currently have 17 apprentices working across our business in various departments including finance, production, customer experience and recycling. As we enter the 12th annual National Apprenticeship Week, there’s never been a better time to take on an apprentice as a tradesperson. If you’ve never considered apprenticeships or you’re not sure whether they’re right for your business, we’ve outlined four reasons why they make perfect business sense.

Your apprentice will learn their skills from the best

One reason to consider employing an apprentice rather than an already qualified tradesperson is that you can train them to your own standards. Your customers will expect all your work to be of the highest quality as usual, whether it’s done by an apprentice or not, so it’s important that you don’t just take on anybody to do the job. Training an apprentice yourself means you can pass on your knowledge and skills and as they’ll be learning from the best, there won’t be any bad habits to pick up.

Apprentices are a great solution to the skills shortage

It’s no secret that the construction industry is in the midst of a skills shortage and our recent independent research revealed this is one of the key concerns facing installers at the moment. Apprenticeships not only help young people save thousands of pounds in University fees, but also get these people interested in the sector from a young age;

as a result, they’re often more likely to want to stay in the industry, helping to ensure we have skilled workers for years to come.

According to Government statistics, nearly all apprentices feel that they acquire or improve their skills as a direct result of their apprenticeship. Investing time in apprentices helps your business in the long run as you can teach them the skills required to thrive, enabling you to develop ideal future employees who know your business inside out.

Apprentices help to improve employee retention

It can be difficult enough finding skilled workers without having to worry about your existing employees leaving to work for someone else. Apprentices will often appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into their development and as a result, are more likely to be loyal and stay with you. Don’t just take our word for it though, National Apprenticeship Service figures state that 80% of companies who have taken on an apprentice see a significant increase in employee retention.

Hiring an apprentice is cheaper and financial support is available

Hiring an apprentice not only enables you to train up high quality staff that will be easier to retain, but it’s also a much cheaper way of doing things. Apprentices demand a lower wage than qualified tradespeople and there’s lots of financial support available when it comes to training costs. The National Apprentice Service will cover the full costs if your apprentice is aged between 16-18 and 50% for those between 18-24. What’s more, if this is your first time hiring an apprentice under the age of 24, you could even be eligible for £1,500 through the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers.

If we’ve managed to convince you that taking on an apprentice is a good idea, it’s now time to find one. A quick and easy way of sourcing an apprentice is by finding a training organisation to recruit an apprentice for you. More information can be found here. If you want to do things yourself, head down to your local school or college and give out some flyers or ask to speak to some of the pupils. It’s also a good idea to post on social media that you’re looking for an apprentice as many young people will be looking for jobs on there.

What are we doing?

It wouldn’t be great for us to preach the benefits of apprentices without having any ourselves so we have invested time and money into developing our own cohort of apprentices.

From tooling to product design, we run most operations and services in-house which means we can offer apprenticeships in a wide variety of disciplines. We don’t just cover the fabrication side of business – we can help people start a career in IT, retail, sales, distribution or logistics.

Our apprentices are currently taking part in a number of skills standards, including Assistant Accountant (AAT) levels 2/3, Engineering Technician level 3, Supply Chain Warehouse Operative level 2, Maintenance and Operations Technician level 3, Team Leader/Supervisor level 3 and Operations/Departmental Manager level 5.

To help with this, we have created our ‘Management Development Programme’. Designed especially to complement the apprenticeships, the nine-month programme upskills people in management skills, team performance, personal effectiveness and presentation skills allowing them to progress to the next level in their career.