Why apprenticeships are beneficial for an individual or business

Apprenticeships are a great way to invest in your businesses’ future, whether you are upskilling existing employees or looking to take on new staff.

At NPTC Group of Colleges, we know from working with employers in a variety of different sectors that apprenticeships come with many benefits, not just for individuals but also businesses. Apprenticeships allow your business to build a talent pipeline, develop your current staff or introduce new individuals into your organisation. By offering apprenticeships, you’re able to train individuals to meet your businesses specific needs and requirements and fill potential skills gaps whilst your business grows, amongst many other benefits.

A few of these benefits are:

1. Boosting productivity and company image

Research undertaken by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) found that on average each apprentice brings a gain of more than £10,000 per year due to increased productivity. As an apprentice learns and gains experience, they are able to take on more complex tasks, freeing up colleagues, therefore productivity increases all round. Companies that offer apprenticeships are viewed as being forward thinkers as they are helping individuals to learn and develop, this in turn helps to improve company image and reputation.

“70% of surveyed employers said apprenticeships improved product quality and service” – Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

2. Increase diversity

Apprenticeships bring in a broader range of background, education, age, abilities, socioeconomic status and social mixes into your business. This is beneficial as a diverse workforce offers a wider pool of talent, can improve employee retention as a diverse environment can offer a great workplace atmosphere, therefore, increasing productivity.

3. Reduce skill gaps with apprentices and retain employees

Recruiting and training apprentices allows your business to develop individuals to have the specific skills your business/industry requires. This is beneficial if you are finding skill gaps within the industry and your organisation. It is also possible to offer apprenticeships to your current employees as a way to develop their skills.

This can be beneficial in retaining staff as employees can feel loyal to businesses that have invested in their development – this can also increase motivation.

4. Cost effective

Apprenticeships can be more effective than hiring skilled individuals due to lower costs for training and recruitment. Companies don’t need to spend as much on hiring new employees and going through a lengthy hiring process. Funding provides organisations and individuals in Wales with the opportunity to gain valuable accredited qualifications and workplace experience whilst earning a wage. The cost of delivery of the qualifications is fully funded through Welsh Government. This makes apprenticeships a cost-effective way to fill any skills gaps within your organisation, this is available to all businesses large or small.

5. Fresh ideas and a positive attitude

Apprentices can bring enthusiasm, a positive attitude and new ideas to an organisation. Apprentices can bring in a new perspective as they want to learn and develop within industry, this can be said for existing employees who are wanting to upskill and learn new skills.

 “There’s a real buzz in the office around apprentices as people increasingly see the benefits they can bring. Apprenticeships also give staff opportunities to supervise and mentor people – opportunities that they previously may not have had.” Womble Bond Dickinson, winner at National Apprenticeship Awards 2016

As your business grows it is essential to look into identifying skills gaps and look at how your business is operating as the UK workforce is getting older and the workplace is changing. A third of the UK’s workforce is now over 50, with there being no age limit on apprenticeships, they are an ideal way for your employers to upskill and ensure their knowledge and skills are up-to-date and with the workplace changing, environments, technology, culture and company processes are evolving, particularly in areas of technology, digital and automation.

It is essential to invest in your current team or look into apprenticeship training as if you can identify gaps early, you’re able to train the future workforce or develop current employees to fill those gaps, this is imperative in industries which are currently experiencing shortages. For example, within the construction industry there is a skilled workforce shortage including a lack of supervisor and management roles. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) believes that more than 200,000 skilled workers are needed by the mid-2020s.

The industry is suffering from an aging workforce and will lose a fifth of the workforce due to retirement with not enough newly trained individuals to replace them. A solution has been to attract younger workers and close the skills gaps so there is enough skilled workers. One of the ways to do this could be through offering apprenticeships from entry level all the way through to supervisor and managerial roles.

With many benefits of taking on an apprentice or current employees starting an apprenticeship, there are also many assumptions and misconceptions which may have discouraged you and your team, a few of these examples could be:

1. Apprenticeships are only available in vocational professions

This is incorrect, there are over 1,500 roles available across a wide range of industries and sectors. These are within vocational and professional roles, including but not limited to, construction, aerospace, surveying, sciences, business, health and social care, web development, customer services, law, accountancy, digital, dentistry and media.

 2. If your employees are full-time, they are unable to take on an apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are available for any individuals employed within your company, whether full or part-time. Employees can take on an apprenticeship within their current role to gain professional qualifications and skills needed to progress their careers.

3. Apprenticeships are only for 16-18 year olds

There are no age limitations with apprenticeships, even graduates are eligible. Apprenticeships are new opportunities to gain qualifications or new skills within a new industry. Apprenticeships are a great way to develop your job, qualifications and your career at any age.

4. An apprenticeship means time away from your place of work

Training can happen whilst in the workplace and college attendance isn’t necessary. Workplace training and development must be relevant to the apprenticeship.

5. You can’t gain high qualifications on an apprenticeship

Apprenticeships can go all the way up to a Level 6 qualification, these Degree apprenticeships are now just as favourable as going to university with more individuals choosing to earn their degrees via this route. Apprenticeships offer a ladder of opportunity so individuals can progress from traineeships and Level 2 apprenticeships right up to higher qualifications. Once completing an apprenticeship, individuals will gain a nationally recognised qualification and then be able to go on to a higher level if they wish.

6. A lack of career progression/prospects

There is a misconception that if you undertake an apprenticeship there is a lack of career progression or prospects. This is not true, with apprentices having advantages over other applicants due to having gained industry experience and workplace skills whilst earning a qualification.

Whether you are thinking about developing your current skills with an apprenticeship, want to put your employees on apprenticeships or introduce them to your business, an apprenticeship is an important investment and something definitely worth considering with many benefits for businesses including organisational growth, increased productivity, staff retention and filling skills gaps and for individuals the benefits include developing skills, career progression and earning qualifications.

Apprenticeships have clear benefits whether for a business or individual. If you are thinking about developing your current skills with an apprenticeship, want to put your employees on apprenticeships or introduce them to your business, we have a dedicated work-based learning department deals specifically with the delivery of apprenticeships, our Pathways Training team are able to help you with any apprenticeship queries.

Pathways Training works closely with businesses to provide apprenticeship opportunities and support. If you would like further information, please contact NPTC Group of Colleges on business@nptcgroup.ac.uk.