With the many benefits on offer from making apprenticeships part of your company, Karen Woodward, interim national director of the National Apprenticeship Service, looks at how to kick off your apprenticeship offering.
The first step for any employer new to recruiting apprentices should be to contact the National Apprenticeship Service, the organisation that supports, funds and coordinates the delivery of apprenticeships throughout all of England.
The National Apprenticeship Service provides a dedicated service to employers, offering free expert advice and support to those looking to recruit apprentices for the first time or for those wishing to expand the apprenticeships that they offer.
The National Apprenticeship Service has a team of experts, including small business specialists, on hand to help employers.
There is also financial support available – if your business has fewer than 1,000 employees, you may be eligible for a grant of £1,500 per apprentice, which is intended to enable smaller companies to take on an apprentice aged between 16 and 24.
Decide on your requirements with an apprenticeship adviser, and drive recruitment through the free apprenticeship vacancies service.
The employer teams will encourage you to ask yourself the right questions such as “where can an apprentice add most value to our business?” and “what sort of training should we provide?”
You can then advertise your vacancies for free on apprenticeship vacancies, the job site for apprenticeships. This allows quality vacancies from employers to be viewed and applied for nationally by thousands of candidates who have registered. Well over a million apprenticeship applications were made via this system last year.
Deliver the apprenticeship, working with a training organisation to support your business. Training organisations offer training as part of the apprenticeship, and there are two main types – further education colleges and independent training providers, which can be in the private or voluntary sector.
Develop your apprentice by, for example, entering them into awards and competitions to put your business on the map. Once you have established your apprenticeship programme, you can identify areas for development. The National Apprenticeship Service employer teams, including small and medium-sized business specialists, are always on hand to guide you through these various opportunities such as expanding apprenticeships into other areas of your business. You might also choose to enter skills competitions or the National Apprenticeship Awards to celebrate the success of your business and apprentices.
To find out more information about apprenticeships and the AGE 16 to 24 Grant, visit the National Apprenticeship Service’s website, or call them on 08000 150 600.