Apprenticeships are usually seen as a route for school leavers looking to find a way into the world of work without further class-based education. They actually have many more functions and for employers, they can be a valuable way of retraining and developing existing employees.
You can use apprenticeship training in a range of ways including:
- To fill skill gaps in your business
- To boost employee motivation by committing to their development
- To improve employee retention due to their renewed motivation and clear career growth
You may have employees who are experienced and dedicated but lack a qualification in their specialism. You may have others who have an interest in a new area of the business and you want to train them adequately in this field before they make the move. There are a multitude of ways apprenticeships can benefit your existing employees and by-proxy, your business.
Planning your Apprenticeship Strategy
Every business can benefit from the apprenticeship scheme with the right strategy in place. The right strategy can be pivotal in delivering and achieving your recruitment goals and growing your business. They can help your business create rounded employees who can seamlessly move from department to department with relevant and multiple skillsets. They can also:
- Be tailored very specifically to particular job roles to equip employees with skills that motivate them towards their career ambitions
- Be used to build confidence in employees keen to use their new skills and knowledge
- Promote higher job satisfaction as employees feel personally fulfilled at work
- Create a culture of agile thinking and learning within your business, unlocking further potential and opportunities for growth
The Apprenticeship Levy and Existing Employees
The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced by the UK Government as they pledged to create 3 million apprenticeships in England by 2020. It funds apprenticeship training for most employers. An apprenticeship for a current employee would work in the same way as any other apprentice. They would be enrolled on the programme and spend 80% at work as usual with 20% of their time dedicated to “off-the-job” learning which may involve study or hands-on work in different areas of the business.
The Apprenticeship Levy can legally be used to fund training for you existing employees as long as they are involved on an accredited apprenticeship programme. The programmes usually last between 1 and 2 years and you have to commit to the 20% “off-the-job” element which means you will need to factor this into their working hours and ensure they do spend the time focused on the new skills development and other training for a fifth of their working time.
Many employees would love the opportunity to boost their training profile and have something concrete to show their commitment to your business. Committing to apprenticeships for your existing employees also shows trust and belief in their skills, further improving retention rates too.