The eighth National Apprenticeship Week takes place this week (9 to 13 March 2015). The Week will celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.  The overarching theme for this year is a challenge to us all to think about what we really know about apprenticeships.

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Apprentice Recruitment

Every day will focus on a different theme to show the wide range of apprenticeships on offer-

  • Monday marks the launch of the week and will show how apprenticeships are going from strength to strength
  • Tuesday will focus on small businesses and how they can benefit from taking on apprentices
  • Wednesday will be highlighting traineeships and access to professions
  • Thursday will concentrate on higher apprenticeships
  • Friday there will be a focus on local and regional events and stories

Hundreds of employers, schools, colleges and training providers will be marking the Week by hosting a range of events and activities. Furthermore, employers are being encouraged to pledge their new apprenticeship and traineeship vacancies via an official Pledge-o-meter.

But why take on an apprentice?  Sue Husband, Director, National Apprenticeship Service shares five compelling reasons

  1. Apprentices deliver for employers of all sizes

Apprenticeships deliver for a whole range of industries, from construction to manufacturing through to IT and the creative and digital sector.  Nine in ten employers enjoyed tangible commercial benefits as a result of hiring an apprentice, citing improved skills levels, service, morale and productivity. Furthermore, 89% report that hiring apprentices has helped their business improve the quality of their product or service.

  1. Increase your organisation’s productivity

As well as developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce, apprenticeships also improve productivity. Research by the Centre of Economic and Business Research (Cebr) finds that the average apprenticeship completer is estimated to increase business productivity by £214 per week, with these gains including increased profitability and greater efficiency.

  1. Grow your own talent through apprenticeships

Apprenticeships offer a way to grow your own talent by recruiting young people from a variety of backgrounds who you can mould into your company culture. In fact, seven in ten apprentices stay with the same employer after completing their training.  Moreover, with the introduction of higher apprenticeships businesses are now able to train more of their employees in the high-level industry-specific skills that are critical for growth.

You could also offer a traineeship and help more young people to become work-ready.  Funded by the government, traineeships are providing young people with the work preparation training, maths and English skills and work experience needed to get an apprenticeship or other job.

  1. Employer-led trailblazers are working to ensure our apprenticeships are world-class

Employer-led Trailblazers are leading the way in implementing new standards in apprenticeships, in a variety of occupations from software design, to engineering, financial services and law. The Trailblazers are collaborating to design apprenticeship standards and assessment approaches to make them world class.  More than 1,000 employers – from large corporations such as Google, IBM, BAE, PWC, Sky and ITV to SMEs – are involved so far, with the first apprenticeship starts on the new standards having begun in September 2014.  New standards being developed in HR cover apprenticeships in roles including HR assistant, HR manager and HR director.

  1. You may be eligible for funding

As well as specialist small business support available via the National Apprenticeship Service, you may also be eligible for funding.  The Apprenticeship Grant for Employers 16 to 24 (AGE Grant) is available until the end of the year and is open to any company with under 50 employees. You need to be new to apprenticeships or will not have enrolled a new recruit or existing employee into an apprenticeship programme in the previous 12 months. Businesses can receive up to five grants of £1500 each to help cover the cost of taking on an apprentice.  To date more than 106,000 extra young people have been able to start an apprenticeship thanks to this grant.

Visit greatbusiness.gov.uk/apprenticeships or call 08000 150 600 for more information on hiring an apprentice or accessing funding.