Could apprenticeships be the answer to securing your business’ growth in 2013?

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Despite the economic outlook pointing floor-wards 12 months ago, employment rates defied the gloom and have taken a running jump into the new year, with a 6% increase in employers intending to hire in the first three months.1

Optimism is high in 2013. Workforces across the country are growing. The sun is out on your business’ recruitment strategy; but where to turn to secure your future in all weathers?

The hidden costs of growth through recruitment
Recruitment growth may be the solution to ambitious business goals, but your up-front investment will bring new risks. So how can you reduce that risk?

Perhaps the recruitment agency, casting its line into the sea of jobseekers and landing your ‘perfect’ candidate; saving time but charging you 20% commission for emailing you the CV. But your new recruit could arrive big on ideas, and big on salary too; or with a steady hand, but stodgy ideas and ingrained attitude.

Then there are graduate schemes; more high expectations and £25k-plus salaries stoked by the £53,000 of debt the average student accumulates over the course of their degree.2 Add costs for training and team building, and you’re out of resource sometimes before their work even starts.

Or have you considered apprenticeships? Providers like QA enable you to recruit new talent with low salaries, who receive government-funded training relevant to their job with you; a low-cost, low-risk way to bring bright new staff into your business.

Apprenticeships – growth, without the risk
Whilst any new recruitment expense leaves you exposed, apprenticeship schemes like QA’s let you reduce the risk of taking on new entrants and still deliver exceptional ROI.

QA’s decision to move into apprenticeships in 2008 anticipated massive growth in the UK market, and has created over 1,500 jobs in two years. In 2012 there were over a million online applications for, and half a million jobs created by apprenticeships. With youth unemployment remaining high, apprentices are at the centre of 2013’s recruitment boom; but how and why should you capitalise?

Apprentices’ salaries, like their expectations, are lower. They grow flexibly with your business as they develop in their role. And because they’re learning qualifications relevant to your industry, they’ll soon start delivering on your more modest investment. As Rupert Squires, Operations Director at Perspicuity, said of his Microsoft award-winning software development apprentice, recruited through QA, “one of the reasons that we justified the second apprentice was the speed with which the first apprentice was useful to the business, and we could start covering the costs of employing and training them.”

Results that speak for themselves
All flavours of UK businesses, from IT consultancies such as Capgemini to energy suppliers like British Gas, are enjoying these benefits right now. With government funding grants worth up to £15,000 available for each apprentice, more blue-chip employers are creating and expanding apprenticeship schemes, traditionally an SME activity, into their recruitment channels. Will your business join them in 2013?

Ben Pike is director of QA Apprenticeships
, a market leading provider of IT and business services apprenticeships. We take ambitious and driven young people and place them in full time jobs across the country. Our apprenticeships include IT systems and networking, software and web development, business and administration, professional sales and project management.

1 Manpower Employer Outlook Survey (2013)
2 LV= Cost of University study (2012)

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