Many employers misunderstand the ins and outs of apprenticeships, which often leads to them overlooking apprenticeships altogether as a way of recruiting and upskilling talent. However, a lot of the ideas that they have are misinformed, and businesses are losing out on great benefits that apprentices can bring to their organisation.
To help you understand the facts from the fiction, we’ve busted six myths about apprenticeships from an employer’s perspective.
1. Employing an apprentice is expensive
As of April 2019, if you’re a small employer, you’ll pay just 5% of apprenticeship training costs with the government funding the remaining 95%. Bigger businesses with a wage bill of over £3 million will pay 0.5% of their annual salary costs into the Apprenticeship Levy, then the government will top up your account by a further 10%.
This may sound like a lot of expense from your end, but if you’re already paying for staff to gain industry qualifications, you could potentially access the same or similar qualifications at a far lower cost as part of an apprenticeship.
2. An apprentice will be a burden on my staff
Whilst you will be expected to mentor and coach an apprentice, they definitely shouldn’t be viewed as a burden on your staff. Think of it as an opportunity to develop your team’s leadership and management skills – you never know, it might just bring out skills in your employees which they’ve never had chance to put into practice before. Plus, you might be able to learn a thing or two from your apprentice, as they’ll be looking at your business from a new perspective.
3. My business won’t benefit from hiring an apprentice
Whatever sector your organisation is in, an apprentice will bring a wealth of benefits to your business. According to government data, 76% of employers say that productivity has improved since employing an apprentice, with three-quarters stating that apprenticeships have improved the quality of their product or service.
Still not convinced? Well, research from the AAT found that every time a business hires an apprentice, they receive, on average, a bottom-line boost of around £2,000 once wage and training costs have been factored in.
4. Apprenticeships are just for young people
It’s a common misconception that apprenticeships are just for people who are fresh out of school or college. But in fact, more and more businesses are using apprenticeships to upskill existing members of staff – including graduates and people who are already in senior roles.
Degree-level management apprenticeships are one of the fastest-growing groups of apprenticeships, so there’s plenty of choice for employees who want to progress in their careers but don’t fit the stereotypical apprentice mould. If you’ve got promising members of staff who want to take a step up, an apprenticeship could be the perfect choice.
5. There’s no incentive for me to employ a young person
Yes there is! If you employ an apprentice who’s under the age of 25, you won’t have to pay employer national insurance contributions. If you're looking at high-skilled apprentices or want to upskill existing members of staff who currently earn more than 20k per year, this will be a significant saving – and one which may cover your training costs altogether.
6. I can give an apprentice menial tasks that no one else wants to do
An apprenticeship is a real job, so your apprentice should be given the same responsibilities as other members of the team. They should also have the opportunity to contribute to meetings
and projects, and should be made to feel like a valued member of staff. Yes, there will be times when they have to do the ‘boring’ tasks, but you shouldn’t palm the menial stuff onto apprentices to save other team members a job. After all, it’s your responsibility to teach them the real-world skills they need to go far in their career.