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It used to be just big businesses that offered apprenticeships but apprenticeships are now a credible option for many small businesses.   It is an opportunity for youngsters who do not go to University or those that are unemployed to gain valuable skills for future career advancement.  For small businesses it is a credible option to recruit fresh talent and get them trained up so they make a real contribution to the business in the future.   However, many business owners are put off by the perceived amount of administration required to get started. But don’t be because the government is actively giving help to Employers who have an approved apprenticeship scheme and they are not so difficult to administer.  Small businesses should consider apprenticeships and look at the benefits to youngsters, the community and business.

Hiring an apprentice is an investment for the future. Many businesses see it as an ideal opportunity to create a workforce trained from scratch.  Getting them trained up the right way and in tune with the industry culture.

Below is an overview of how apprenticeships work and what is involved. 

  1. A proportion of their time must be taken up with training. You will need to find a training provider to work alongside to deliver your apprenticeship scheme. Apprentices must spend at least 20% of their normal working hours training.
  2. Apprentices must work towards an approved apprenticeship. Their training must last at least 12 months. 
  3. They must be employed in a real job that gives them the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills they need to pass their assessment.
  4. You must ensure compliance with the government rules regarding minimum wage, working conditions and employment law.  
  5. Apprentices must have the same benefits and conditions as other employees working at similar grades or in similar roles. This includes:
    1. Paid holidays
    1. Any benefits you offer such as childcare voucher schemes
    1. Sick Pay
    1. Any other support
  6. The contract of employment should make it clear what wage you’ll pay your apprentice and for what hours.
  7. Employers can also claim up to £2,000 as an incentive payment if they hire an apprentice that starts with you between 1 August 2020 and 31 March 2021. You’ll have until 30 April 2021 to make the claim.
  8. Small businesses qualify for 95% funding for technical and training courses.   So businesses can get apprentices trained up cost effectively.  

Well worth small businesses looking at the apprenticeship route.  

Roger Gunning FCMA CGMA

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