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Are You Ready For an Apprentice?

Apprenticeships can be a very positive thing for businesses, particularly those that are keen to grow – and with the grants that are available it’s easy to think that this is the perfect answer to a lot of issues our small businesses face. But are they?

Before you make this decision, stop, and ask yourself whether you and your business is ready for an Apprentice.

We know you like the positives so let’s start with those.

We have clients with fantastic Apprenticeship programmes who reap the rewards of what can be a really gratifying experience.  Providing  the opportunity to bring someone into your business and mould them into your way of doing things is an attractive prospect; getting them on board culturally, a real bonus too.

So what are the downsides to all of this I hear you ask! We have also seen Apprenticeships cost our clients time, energy and money because they just didn’t think the whole scenario through properly. It is not a decision to be taken lightly as it is your business and someone’s career at risk if things go wrong. The success of Apprenticeships depends on your business model, industry and managerial team, however, here are the top four key points to consider before embarking on Apprenticeships:

  1. What position will your Apprentice have?
    Consider: Are you hoping to just add another pair of hands to your team, or want someone to undertake a particular role to your standards?
  2. How will you recruit your Apprentice?
    Consider: How will you find the right Apprentice to fit your business; will you use an agency or training provider, will you advertise, are your current interview techniques appropriate for a young and potentially inexperienced individual? How will you find the very best candidate?
  3. How will you train and nurture your Apprentice?
    Consider: Who will be responsible for your Apprentice and do you fully understand the level of supervision and guidance they will need to do a valuable job? Has anyone in your business really got the time to do this well, and if not, how will they make time? Do you have a structured training programme that monitors development and rewards performance?
  4. What is the career progression within your business for your Apprentice?
    Consider: How enticing is your business to an Apprentice? Is there a clear path to develop skills, knowledge and ultimately their career? How will you ensure you retain the person you spend years training so that you and your business make the most of that investment?

Hiring an Apprentice is a significant commitment for any employer. You have to be realistic with your expectations and fair to both existing employees and the potential Apprentice. To make it work takes time, energy and patience but those businesses that are able to structure the delivery of their training will have the best results and ultimately strengthen their workforce. Apprenticeships can be a magnificent way of growing your business… you just have to be sure you know what you’re doing!

If you are thinking about entering into the world of Apprenticeships, pick up the phone and speak to an HR Guru who can help get it set up in the right way to ensure it is a valuable and productive experience.

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