The idea of hiring an apprentice might strike you as a holdover from a bygone era. Even as a contemporary phenomenon from the last ten years or so, it has often been less to do with new blood, as it was upskilling existing staff. For an employer, the current government-funded initiative has a lot of room for creativity that can help you bounce back and thrive. But is all that glitters truly gold?
The technical bit
Whilst using the program can be a little time-consuming, especially in lieu of quite a lengthy wait for funding, the benefits can be incredibly impactful. Any apprentice hired, from the 1st of April to the 30th of September 2021 is eligible for the program. Great for the activities industry, since it gives you scope to hire more staff in some of your busiest periods. If something arises and you need an extra pair of hands, you’ll also have the extra funding to back you up.
COVID-19 has been incredibly difficult for us as employers, but even worse for young people. They were on the front line of job losses when pandemic restrictions swept through. For the youngest in the job market, between the ages of 16 and 18, there’s a £1000 incentive, on top of the £3000 incentive for hiring an apprentice of any age within the period. For anyone with an education, health or care plan, the incentive package age group increases to 25.
If you hire an apprentice from age 16- 24 you will get £2,000, if your new apprentice is over the age of 25 you will get £1,500. The incentive will stack on top of the £1,000 incentive that employers already receive for hiring an apprentice aged 16- 18.
But why bother with an apprentice anyway?
Take into consideration the value of a person who decides at any age to become an apprentice. Starting from the beginning with a willingness to get down to some real work. Not just what’s in their job description but in every facet of your business if that’s what you need. Put simply, they’ll be ready to go the extra mile. You can’t relax your recruitment though, any person hired must be the right fit for the team.
Hiring a younger apprentice means that to a certain degree, you can help the program function the way it was supposed to. Prior to the pandemic, the majority of apprentices were full-time, salaried employees using the program to add to their current skill sets. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with using it to upskill, you have a real opportunity to help young people in your community help themselves.
You can learn a lot from apprenticing a young person. Gen Z were born in a technological revolution which makes them sharks in an ocean of technological solutions. From getting their hands dirty on the pitch to helping you come up with a social media footprint, new blood can be exactly what you need to get businesses back on their feet again.
So, what does the incentive pay for?
The short answer is anything and everything. Unlike the apprentice levy, any incentive payments you receive can be used for any part of your business. Put the cost towards, uniforms, supplementing pay or new equipment, anything that will help make your job easier. If they’re working on social media and they need a new piece of software, you have the flexibility to give them that kind of scope.
Now the incentive isn’t exactly a quick process. It’s government funding after all so there will be a few hurdles to jump through. Namely, you’re going to need to be verified before your organisation will be accepted but you can follow the progress through your online portal. You’ll receive your first of two equal payments after your apprentice has worked 90 days.
Whilst you will need to cover their salary for at least the first 3 months, apprentices are a cheaper option for hiring staff. You’ll save so much on the help you need to get through the season. Helping to develop those professional skills is great, but best of all, you’ll have employees you can build from the ground up – almost all their skills will be built for your business.
In just one generation, you can build a channel of talent into your business in one of the most difficult times your business has seen. What are you waiting for? Be the start of a new generation of activities’ talent.