March 9th marks the start of National Apprenticeship Week 2015, co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) and is designed to celebrate the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.
Since 2010, over 2 million apprenticeships have begun in England alone, with the most popular apprenticeship in 2014 being health and social care. If you do not already employ apprentices, National Apprenticeship Week could be the right time to find out more about the benefits of apprenticeships to your business.
With many care services reporting increasing difficulty in recruiting and retaining staff, apprenticeships can offer an effective route to attracting new staff and providing the training required to meet the needs of your business. 96% of employers taking on an apprentice report benefits and 72% state improved productivity as a result of employing an apprentice. Other benefits reported by around two-thirds of employers include the introduction of new ideas, better morale and improved staff retention.
In addition to these benefits, if you employ fewer than 50 staff and have not taken on an apprentice before, you may be able to claim a grant of £1500 for each apprentice you employ. The Apprenticeship Grant for Employers aims to support businesses, who would not otherwise be able to do so, to recruit individuals aged 16 to 24 into employment through the apprenticeship programme and can be paid for up to 5 apprentices providing a total grant of up to £7500.
5 Steps to How You Can Benefit from Apprentices in Your Service
All apprenticeships include set content that is relevant to the specific role but they can be customised further to the needs of your business. Consider what you might want to include to make the apprenticeship work for your specific service type, whether it be domiciliary, residential, nursing or dementia care.
Selecting the right training provider to deliver training to your apprentices is essential to the success of your scheme. You will need to be confident that the provider has previous experience of successfully supporting apprentices and also understands the needs of your business. The NAS is able to provide further support and guidance on choosing an appropriate provider.
If you employ fewer than 250 staff, the NAS has a Small Business Team specialising in supporting smaller employers in employing apprentices. This team will also provide support in using the national apprenticeship vacancies website to assist with finding suitable candidates who are looking to work within social care settings.
Find out more information about apprenticeships on the Government’s apprenticeships website, where a range of case studies and background information are available.
Visit the NAS website to register as an Apprenticeship Employer. The NAS also offers a telephone support line for businesses.