The advantages of hiring an apprentice are many. For starters, you have the opportunity to hire and test an employee that you can then nature and develop to become a valuable member of your staff.
But many small businesses are skeptical about hiring apprentices. For some, it is a matter of valued time and money that can be invested elsewhere in the growth and success of the company. For others, it is an issue of the red tape involved with apprenticeships.
- Why Consider Recruiting An Apprentice?
For apprentices that under the stewardship of seasoned professionals, that opportunity is they strive to grasp with a firm hand since they know it is a chance to grow and hone their profession. They know that you are investing in them and thus will reciprocate by showing enthusiasm and loyalty. For any firm that hires apprentices, these new additions to the workforce bring in fresh ideas that can help the business stay current and relevant, more so regarding digital trends, knowledge, and skills.
For companies that have a skills gap that needs filling, then hiring apprentices is a cost-efficient way of recruiting. It is one way of ensuring the recruits are trained and have skills and knowledge tailored to meet the needs of the business.
For a financial standpoint, the business owners will not have to part with too much money. The apprentice pay rates can be that of a minimum wage. Moreover, if the recruits are under 25 years of age, then the employer does not have to pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions on apprentices’ wages that are up to £892 per week. On the flip side, the apprentice gets paid while learning the ropes of the trade. As such, this is a win-win thing.
An Apprenticeship Grant of £1,500 per recruit is also available for employers. You can check out the UK government’s official website to find out if you are eligible for the grant.
- Where Do You Start?
You can get the information you need online at the Skills Funding Agency website. You also can register for interest in apprenticeship, by going online to the National Apprenticeship Service website. Here are some great tips also on how to find an apprentice the works for you via DST.
- How Do You Find Apprentices?
You can find and get in touch with apprentices through the help or assistance of registered apprenticeship training organizations that you can find on the Apprenticeships website. Advertising your interest to hire an apprentice, when you register your business and yourself as an employer, can also help you find the ideal candidate to recruit.
- How Much Is The Apprentice’s Wage?
The Nationally accepted minimum wage for apprentices, as of 1 April 2018, stands at £3.70 per hour for candidates under the age of 19 years. Apprentices that are above the stated age should be paid wages that apply to their age as set by the NMW (National Minimum Wage). To honor this rule, you are expected to have the apprentice sign an apprenticeship agreement, and it will work in your favor. Failure to have the signed agreement means that you will be eligible to pay the apprentice rate of earnings and you also have to honor the NMW applicable rate for as per the apprentice’s age.
- What Are The Rules Governing Apprenticeships?
Firstly, the recruit must be above 16 years of age and is not in full-time education and should study for a work-based profession with qualifications attained at a training provider or college. The classes should be at least once a week. The apprentice should work for less than 30 paid hours weekly with more than 16 paid hours a week. As the employer, you are expected to pay the apprentice for hours spent studying and training for a qualification, be it when at the college or when working.
The recruit should have the same terms and conditions of employment as your other employees. That means that they will also enjoy sick leave and pay, paid holidays, and other benefits awarded to the other workers.
The apprenticeship should take less than four years and more than a year to complete, depending on the apprentice’s level which can range from the equivalent of five GCSEs or even a degree level qualification.
- What About Tax And National Insurance?
The apprentice should be treated like any other paid staff member for tax purposes. As such, the apprentice is expected to pay income tax and the NIC (National Insurance Contributions) like the other employees. Apprenticed under 25 years of age are not required to pay the secondary Class 1 NICs on wages up to the UEL (Upper Earnings Limit); this was enforced in April 2016.
- Is There Any Other Red Tape?
Having to employ works, and that include apprentices, means that you have to comply with the health and safety regulations as well as the employment law.
- How Can I Get The Most Out Of Apprentices?
In the apprentice agreement, there should be a clause that gives you the right to dismiss a recruit because of their poor performance and unwillingness to improve. But that does not mean that you have the right to make an apprentice be out of a job.
- Will I Have To Pay The Apprenticeship Levy?
As of 6th April 2017, there is an apprentice levy on large employers in effect from the government meant to fund apprenticeships. The said “large employers” are firms or business that have an annual pay bill that is above £3 million or has ties with charities for Employment Allowance or other firms with a similar yearly pay bill.