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At the time of writing it’s election time in the UK, and you’ll be hearing about how apprenticeship schemes are becoming an increasingly popular way for young people to enter the working world, allowing them to learn a trade and gain valuable on-the-job experience whilst earning a wage. However, many young businesses shy away from apprentices as they believe they’re costly and time consuming, or they’re unsure about the recruitment process.
Personally, I’ve always been a supporter of apprenticeships and paid for internships. Not only have we been engaging with them at Flubit.com for the last few years, but during my university years I gained the experience needed by being the intern! I think I completed about 15 short-term ones over my three years at university.
Speaking from experience, for a growing business, where creativity and technical skills are vital to success, I firmly believe apprenticeships provide an important and cost effective way of recruiting high-quality employees. These young ‘up-and-coming’ talents bring heaps of energy and willingness to do a lot of varied roles; they look for experience and learning across multiple disciplines, which, for a startup, is crucial.
Moreover, by taking on an apprentice means you can nurture their talent, train them in the ways you want them to work and help them develop skills to your own high standards.
One of the biggest benefits of running an apprenticeship scheme is that it helps create a dedicated, loyal workforce. The majority of apprentices are young school or college leavers, meaning they have plenty of energy and enthusiasm. They are keen to do well and prove themselves.
Offering an apprenticeship could be one of the most rewarding things you do, not only from a business perspective, but from a personal perspective as well. You know that you’ve helped someone’s career and in return, you normally end up with a member of staff that really goes that extra mile for you. However, it’s important to ensure the apprentice you hire is the right one.
One thing I’d say though is that before getting involved with the recruitment process, make sure you’ve got clear expectations.
You’re not going to get somebody with experience or the ready made skills so you need to be able to invest the time in them to train them up. But they may bring a fresh approach and new ideas so you’re probably looking for someone with great potential that’s in it for the long-term. As with any new recruit you want to ensure they have a good attitude and have a desire to succeed.
It’s important to see apprentices as an investment, both in the future of the individual and your business. Don’t allow the small initial cost stopping you from hiring apprentices, there’s a helping hand available in the form of government grants and incentives for companies taking on apprentices. In most cases, the National Apprenticeship Service will match your commitment to hiring apprentices by covering, in full or in part, the training costs.
With so many short and long-term benefits to hiring an apprentice, maybe it’s time for you to hire one and experience the advantages first hand.