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It is no surprise that businesses are paying attention to the benefits of hiring apprentices with televised campaigns and National Apprenticeship Week highlighting the benefits this type of talent brings to any organisation they join.

As of 31 August 2019, the Department for Education has recorded that 219,800 apprentices have committed to apprenticeship programmes within a business.

Of these commitments recorded so far for 2018/19, 119,500 were for apprentices aged 25 and over; 69,000 were intermediate apprenticeships, and 94,800 were advanced apprenticeships.

If a business has a payroll of over £3 million, they will be making levy payments. Once an account is active, businesses have 24 months to spend this money before losing the funds. The best advice? Use it, don’t lose it!

Find, Train, Retain, Save

Apprentices offer businesses an easier way to bring in new talent, allowing them to source and develop the best individuals with skills the business needs, irrelevant of the size of the organisation. Apprentices can work across departments and this flexibility and dynamic support frees up senior employees.

As apprenticeships are training programmes, apprentices will know the business from day one, remaining loyal due to their professional development being nurtured. This ensures that talent is not only trained but also retained.

The Department of Education reports that retention rates were 60% for Level 2 and 3 learners in 2017, meaning that apprentices stayed with the employer for a minimum of 13-21 months after completing their apprenticeship.

Investing in an apprentice provides you with the opportunity to develop a valued and loyal full-time employee while potentially reducing the cost of recruitment in the future.

Specific skills leads to increased productivity

Training can be flexible to support business needs, maximising output and ensuring little disruption.

It is common knowledge that apprentices are hungry to thrive, learn and develop. They bring a fresh perspective to business with energy, enthusiasm and motivation aplenty, alongside up-to-date practical and digital knowledge.

In the last Apprenticeship Evaluation 2017: Employers report by IFF Research, 86% of employers reported that the most common benefit for providing apprenticeships was the development of skills relevant to their organisation, while 78% said they improved productivity.

Thus, apprentices can support businesses to meet and surpass their objectives. This fresh perspective ensures apprentices come with excitement and inspiration, injecting enthusiasm and ideas into their projects, rejuvenating businesses.

Offering an apprenticeship can close skills gaps within industry, allowing for a broader pool of talent and enabling a focus on current staff development.

A business that trains apprentices allows them to give something back, tackling unemployment within local communities, allowing industry sectors to flourish and offering a competitive edge, all while boosting their business profile.

Apprentices ensure diversity within business. In welcoming apprentices from all walks of life to thrive under employer guidance, this ensures businesses are a step ahead of their competitors with the newest and brightest talent.


Author – Fiona Stilwell, Managing Director, Activate Apprenticeships
[email protected]

Fiona has worked in the apprenticeship sector for nearly 20 years and now manages Activate Apprenticeships, the largest apprenticeship provider in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. As experts in apprenticeship reforms, the company provides advice to clients on all aspects of learning and development, recruitment, apprenticeship standards, funding compliance and securing return on training investment.

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