So it was National Apprenticeship Week recently (March 9-13, 2015) and a good time to review the benefits of a government scheme that was launched 7 years ago.
The National Apprenticeship Service was created in 2008 to redress the balance of apprenticeships versus university degrees. At the time, only 6% of English firms offered apprenticeships compared to 30% in Germany.
Seven years on and 96% of employers that take on an apprentice report benefits to their business. So what are the benefits of IT apprenticeships? Here’s our top 3…
1. Grow your own talent
You can train them in your way of doing business and using your specific mix of technology. 72% of businesses report improved productivity as a result of employing an apprentice. Two-thirds of employers also quoted the introduction of new ideas by apprentices as an additional benefit.
2. Motivated and loyal workforce
90% of apprentices stay in employment after their apprenticeship (which makes them loyal) and on average an apprentice will increase lifetime earnings by £150,000 (which makes them motivated). Now 44% of graduates wish they had taken a more vocational route like an apprenticeship.
3. Improves the bottom line
The average apprenticeship increases business productivity by £214 per week, including bigger profits, lower prices and better products. Apprentices are paid at least the relevant minimum wage and training costs are covered for many of them. Businesses that employ up to 1000 staff, may even get a £1,500 grant to help cover the cost of starting a new apprentice aged 16 to 24 years old.
These benefits are real and supported by firms such as Freedom Communications, a Watford based Unified Comms Systems Integrator (UCSI). They have embarked on an ambitious skills development programme using the government backed Employer Ownership fund, Ali McGregor (Business Analyst, Freedom Communications) explained: “We have a £2m budget and a 3-year plan to equip our staff with the right skills, so Freedom continues as the leading UCSI in the UK”.
Resourcing strategies play a significant part in Freedom’s business model. This includes investment in young technicians; 15% of its total workforce are aged 18-24 and have either received structured training or are on apprenticeship schemes.
For more on how Freedom are tackling the skills gap and benefiting from apprenticeships, just download our National Apprenticeship Service.