Finding apprenticeships for your business
Hiring an apprentice is a costly way to fill a position, isn’t it? It’s much better to simply hire a candidate with all the necessary experience and qualifications, right? Well, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is the case. However, according to key facts about apprenticeships presented by GOV.UK, 76 percent of businesses reported that productivity had increased as a result of hiring apprentices. So, maybe it’s not such a bad idea after all.
Today we look at the advantages of hiring apprentices for your franchise and then how you can find apprenticeships for your business.
How can apprenticeships benefit your franchise business?
Without a doubt, an apprenticeship is a practical and worthwhile option for school leavers to progress quickly in working life - but what are the advantages for franchisees?
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3 Benefits of hiring apprentices
1. A loyal workforce
When you’re running a franchise business, consistency is key to your success. One of the biggest factors in achieving consistency is the staff that you employ. One of the biggest benefits of hiring apprentices is that you’ll be building an enthusiastic and committed workforce.
Most apprentices have just left school or college, so they have an abundance of energy and interest. They are keen to learn the ways of your business and you can reward their eagerness to become skilled by helping them to progress through your organisation. Apprentices often repay their employer for training them by remaining loyal. In fact, 36 percent of apprentices go on to achieve a promotion after completing their apprenticeship.
2. More cost-effective
It can be a strain on a business to recruit and train an apprentice. Not only does the apprentice have to learn the ropes from scratch, but another member of staff has to take the time out to train them. However, you’ll experience long-term gain for relatively short-term pain.
For larger businesses (with a pay bill greater than £3 million), an apprenticeship levy was introduced in April 2017 which is charged at 0.5 percent of the annual pay bill. This levy effectively covers the cost of training any apprentices that are hired. For smaller businesses, a co-investment rate has been introduced so that employers and the government can share the cost of training apprentices. Now, non-levy paying employers pay five percent towards apprenticeship training, whilst the government covers the rest (95 percent). So, there’s finance available for all sizes of businesses.
However, as these new figures have been introduced quite recently, if your apprenticeship started before 1st of April 2019, you need to contribute 10 percent towards the apprentice’s training and assessment, whilst the Government will pay the remaining 90 percent. This continues till the training period is finished.
Of course, whilst the expense of training apprentices is subsidised, paying the wages is the employer’s responsibility. But even this is far less costly than hiring an experienced applicant. Apprentices under the age of 19, or in year one of their apprenticeship, are eligible to a minimum level of pay under the national minimum wage. As of 1st of April 2019, the minimum wage for apprentices is £3.90 an hour, compared to £7.70 for an employee aged 21 or over. For 18 to 20-year-olds, the minimum wage is £6.15.
This can work as an advantage for franchisees who wish to balance their older, experienced employees with younger, enthusiastic apprentices. It is also cost-effective, as a person can be employed at a fraction of the cost, which could be particularly beneficial during the early days of the franchise.
3. A flexible option
What apprentices lack in actual work experience, they make up for by being able to view the business through a fresh pair of eyes. Without the risk of being dragged down by prior knowledge of what has gone before, apprentices can come up with fresh and new ideas. This ability to think outside the box is just as valuable to a business as a knowledgeable and skilled workforce. With 67 percent of organisations stating that their apprentices generated new ideas, it’s easy to see how they can improve your business.
It’s because of this ‘freshness’ that you can shape apprenticeships to fit your business and the specific role you’re seeking to fill. This makes them a hugely beneficial and flexible addition to complement your existing workforce. This is particularly prevalent within the technology sector, as it can be difficult for businesses to recruit people with the certain skills that they need to move their business forward. Hiring an apprentice can be the answer to your problems, as you can train a talented and enthusiastic young person for a very specific role.
If steps are not taken to fill these skills gaps, many businesses could find themselves with a skill deficit when their existing staff move on or retire. By hiring apprentices, you not only get the chance to mould their talents to suit specific roles, but also to the mission and values of your business. And, as this is likely to be their first experience of working in a paid job, it’s unlikely that an apprentice will have acquired any bad habits!
Give an apprentice - and your franchise - a chance to succeed
So, there are many advantages for a franchise business when recruiting apprentices. And whilst your business grows and develops; so does the apprentice. Apprenticeships give young people the opportunity to work towards a qualification and gain the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in their chosen industry. Becoming employed earlier means it’s very likely that their career will progress more quickly too.
Apprenticeships are a great introduction into the working world and demonstrate to employers that the people taking them are prepared to work hard. ‘On-the-job’ training also gives apprentices the chance to learn practical skills and develop confidence in the workplace. All this whilst earning a wage, rather than racking up student debt.
89 percent of apprentices state that they’re satisfied with their apprenticeship and 87 percent of employers express satisfaction with the apprenticeship programme. So, what have you got to lose? Recruiting apprentices for your franchise could be the best thing; for you, them and your business.
You may now be wondering how you should go about finding apprenticeships for your business. Take a look below at some of our tips to make the process easier.
Finding Apprenticeships for Your Business
According to the Gov.uk website, there are five steps that you must complete when taking on an apprentice. These are:
5 steps to taking on an apprentice
1. You must firstly choose an apprenticeship framework or standard for an apprenticeship at an appropriate level and in your industry.
2. Then, you can find an organisation that offers apprentice training for the framework or standard you need.
On the ‘find apprenticeship training’ section of the Gov.uk website, you can find training providers who provide the necessary apprenticeship training you require - whether it’s for an Autocare Technician, Adult Care Worker or an Optical Assistant.
Let’s take Optical Assistant for example. Type it in the search engine and you will be presented with a page summarising the apprenticeship standard. You can find training providers by typing in the postcode of the apprentice’s workplace and selecting whether your business is a levy-payer or if you are going to receive money from another employer to fund the apprenticeship.
3. Check what funding is available for you. This was covered in the earlier section in the article that covered why hiring an apprenticeship is a more cost-effective option.
4. The next step is advertising your apprenticeship. Making life easier for you, the training organisation advertises your business opportunity through the ‘find an apprenticeship’ service. Interested candidates can head to the Gov.uk website and put in various keywords to be presented with a list of opportunities. They can put in their desired job title, description or an employer, then their desired location and the apprenticeship level. These are intermediate, advanced, higher and degree.
5. The final step is to choose your apprentice and then make an apprenticeship agreement and commitment statement with them. In the apprenticeship agreement, there are details of the length of the apprentice’s employment, what training you provide them with, the working conditions and the qualifications they will achieve at the end. It’s up to you if you want to create your own apprentice agreement or download a template online.
Then, the commitment statement must include the planned training and schedule of delivery, what is expected and provided by the employer, the training organisation and the apprentice, and, lastly, how you intend to deal with questions or complaints.
If you feel like you and your business are more suited to hiring an apprentice without being responsible for running the apprenticeship scheme, you can use the services of an apprenticeship training agency.
Becky Martin, Point Franchise ©
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