Could an apprentice be right for your business?
With the cost of university fees at an all-time high, university is not always an option for school leavers. According to UCAS, average annual tuition fees for a student studying in England is now £9,250 per year. Paired with the additional costs of living, students could graduate with a substantial debt of £50,000 on average.
A popular alternative to further education is apprenticeships. Open to anyone over the age of 16, an apprenticeship offers young people the opportunity to learn the practical skills of a job, along with the time to study. A variety of organisations across many industries now offer apprenticeships, including the BBC, McDonalds, Virgin Media, Marks & Spencer and Barclays.
Hiring an apprentice
To employ an apprentice you must have a genuine job vacancy to fill. The contract must last long enough for the apprentice to complete their apprenticeship, and must pay a wage. As of April 2018, the minimum hourly rate for apprentices under 18 years old is £4.20.
To advertise an apprenticeship you can post vacancies on your own website, or utilise the apprentice search function of the Government’s gov.uk website.
An apprentice doesn’t necessarily have to be a new employee, an apprenticeship could also be offered to an existing member of staff, so long as they meet the requirements.
Your responsibilities as an apprentice employer
As an employer you are required to select a training provider to support your apprentice throughout their contract. Apprentices must spend at least 20% of their time completing off-the-job training so you must take that into account. This could consist of workshops for example, shadowing a colleague or day release to college. These studies must be relevant to their apprenticeship.
The remainder of the apprentice’s time is spent on the job, learning and developing the skills required for their specific role. Within their work environment, apprentices must be supported by a mentor.
An apprenticeship must last a minimum of one year, and you are required to have an apprenticeship agreement in place with the apprentice, and a written agreement with the training provider for the duration.
Hiring an apprentice could be a good opportunity for your business to grow its talent with a skilled and qualified workforce. You could also be entitled to funding or additional payments from the Government so could be something to consider for your business.
It is a legal requirement to hold employers liability insurance of £10 million if you employ any staff, including apprentices. If you are considering hiring an apprentice and would like to discuss your insurance requirements, get in touch with the HETAS Insurance Services team on 01905 886 462, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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