A new report explores the financial and social gains for businesses who choose to take on apprentices.
New research conducted by the St Martin’s Group, an apprenticeship and skills organisation, shows the various benefits which are brought about by taking on an apprentice.
In specific, despite the costs that come with hiring and training an apprentice, employers who take on an apprentice were shown to gain an early net financial benefit to their business of almost £2,500.
However, the benefits were shown to go beyond simply financial gains with 98 per cent of employers reporting that apprentices also bring additional benefits.
With the prevalence of skills shortages within the labour market, almost half of employers (47 per cent) reported apprentices helped to plug this gap.
Furthermore, apprentices were deemed as providing value for money and being a cost-effective labour source by two-fifths of employers (40 per cent).
A third (33 per cent) even cited that apprentices improved diversity within their business.
Although the report acknowledges that the total costs associated with apprentices can be hefty, averaging around £32,300 for the average apprentice in the UK per year, it further states many of the additional upfront costs associated with onboarding apprentices can be recovered much earlier than anticipated.
In addition, it adds that the benefits apprentices bring increase as they become more skilled, meaning an employer’s average net benefit will continue to grow over time.
However, to increase participation in these schemes, the report makes recommendations in order to make apprenticeships easier to navigate in the long run:
- Governments should utilise providers and intermediaries with direct links to SMEs to provide targeted information and advice to help overcome the barriers to participation.
- The profile of apprenticeships should continue to be promoted, including providing targeted outreach to encourage more starts, particularly for those in areas of deprivation.
- Communication, engagement, and support for current apprentices should be continued, including a centrally funded, co-ordinated support programme with support from organisations such as the Association of Apprentices.
David Marsh, Co-Chair of The St Martin’s Group and CEO of Babington said:
Apprenticeships are an incredibly valuable career pathway, and we are encouraged that the findings of this report demonstrate not only the net benefits to employers but also the employment prospects for those who complete apprenticeships.
While Covid-19 has brought a range of unforeseen hurdles for the sector, the past 18 months have also shown how apprentices can help improve the resilience and flexibility of businesses across the country. This includes the vital role apprenticeships can play in closing skills shortages in sectors that are crucial to economic recovery.
We have welcomed the Government’s apprenticeship and skills initiatives in driving forward the growth in apprenticeships. However, to ensure employers and learners continue to reap the rewards, funding levels and wider support must continue, particularly for SMEs and areas of deprivation to help overcome any further barriers to participation.
*This research was obtained from the St. Martin’s Group ‘The Real Costs and Benefits of Apprenticeships’, published in September 2021.
Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.