10 big apprenticeship myths and why you shouldn’t believe them

What employing an apprentice is really like

This article has been produced in partnership with the National Apprenticeship Service.

Apprenticeships are on the rise in the UK, with nearly half a million new apprentices starting in 2014/15. The benefits for businesses are widely reported but there are still a lot of myths flying around that stop employers thinking seriously about hiring an apprentice.

With help from the National Apprenticeship Service, let us dispel some of those misconceptions:

1. Apprenticeships aren’t relevant to my line of business

That’s not true.Apprenticeships cover 1,500 different roles in all sorts of industries and businesses, covering engineering to social media and digital marketing, accounting to children’s care. There is almost always a way an apprentice can fit into your business. What’s more, if the current apprenticeships on offer don’t give your business what it needs, you can get involved in the design and development of new apprenticeship standards, to meet the needs of your business and sector.

2. I will have to make a lot of changes to accommodate an apprentice

Not at all. An apprenticeship is first and foremost a job which includes a work-based training programme, designed with or by employers. An apprenticeship is delivered in partnership with a training organisation who will work with you to deliver the apprenticeship in a style to suit your needs.

3. I don’t want a school-leaver. I want someone with real world experience

This is a common concern but apprenticeships are not just for young people. They can be, and are, taken up by people of any age, as long as they are 16 or over. For example, your new apprentice could be someone in their 30s who fancies a change but doesn’t want to go back to full-time education. An apprenticeship would be a great way to give them a first step into a new career.

4. I don’t have time to constantly supervise an apprentice

Like any new employee, an apprentice will need close supervision at the start. However, over time their skills will improve and their experience will increase and they will be able to work independently, which will pay off for your business.

5. It’s too complicated, I haven’t got the time or resource to manage it

It’s a simple process to take on an apprentice, and the National Apprenticeship Service is there to take you through it, step by step. They will put you in contact with a training organisation who will be able to support your apprenticeship from beginning to end.

6. I can’t get the high level skills I need through an apprenticeship

You may be surprised at what an apprentice can learn to do. However, if the skills required for the job are advanced, it might be appropriate to offer a Higher Apprenticeship – which can be the equivalent of a degree.

7. It’s too expensive, we can’t afford it

Did you know that the government will contribute towards the cost of the training? Depending on the age of your apprentice, and type of apprenticeship they are undertaking, the government could contribute up to 100% of the cost of training.

8. Young people are hard to manage

Not necessarily! Many young people starting apprenticeships are keen to learn and are passionate about the job. Some may require a little pastoral care at the beginning, especially if they are new to the working world, however many will have had part-time jobs while still at school and know exactly what is required of them in the workplace.

9. We only recruit graduates

Some of employers report that they find it difficult to retain their graduates. If you require degree-level recruits, why not offer Degree Apprenticeships – apprentices are quick to learn, loyal to your business, and you’ll get the skills level you require.

10. Apprenticeship are only for new recruits

Not so! Were you aware that you can offer apprenticeships to your existing staff? This could be a great way to develop the skills of your workforce. Depending on the previous qualification level of your employee, the government may even contribute towards the cost.

For all the help and guidance you’ll need, contact the National Apprenticeship Service now:

CALL: 08000 150 600

VISIT: london.gov.uk/get-started

This article has been produced in partnership with the National Apprenticeship Service.

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