Employing Your First Apprentice

A couple of weeks ago we looked at the uphill struggle that small businesses face to keep staff motivated during times of economic hardship. But for many companies, it could be too much of a fight to keep staff – who may well look for higher-paying alternatives elsewhere – on their side in order ride out the current financial storm. In fact, many start-ups may find themselves with their backs against the wall, trying desperately to find a way to keep employees on-board and motivated whilst not being able to fully meet a salary that the current cost of living demands.

Faced with this situation, it’s easy to get demotivated yourself (which, incidentally, will probably rub off on your remaining workforce). So it’s vital that instead, you focus your energy towards finding a cure for your business head-ache. One such antidote could be employing an Apprentice, a move that the mayor of London – Boris Johnson – has recently urged small to mid-sized business to consider heavily when looking to hire new workers.

Rejuvenating the Workplace

Many businesses seem to be put off by the prospect of an apprentice due to the level of commitment required to train them, but instead it may be worth looking at the positives. Personally, when I think ‘apprentice’, I think youth, fresh ideas, buckets of enthusiasm and a positive work ethic, and to me, all of these great attributes more than justify investing a few extra hours per week into their career development. And what’s more, with the Government now providing up to £1,500 worth of funding to firms as an incentive to take on an apprentice, it looks to be a great financial move too.

In the past, I’ve worked for a number of companies who’ve looked towards young talent to grow their business – and it’s proved to be successful in every single case. Not only does it allow small firms to take advantage of the financial rewards offered by the scheme, but it also gives the office a new lease of life to have a young, ambitious and talented, fresh face around.

How to Take on an Apprentice

Now that you know exactly why hiring an apprentice can be both very rewarding and lucrative for your business, your first step should be to contact the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), who can offer advice as to which scheme will best suite your business. There are many different types of apprenticeship programs, so it’s important to choose the right one from the offset.

Next you’ll want to advertise your apprenticeship on the internet. There are many jobsites that allow you to post apprenticeship positions on the web – such as Reed, Monster and Total Job. It also helps to keep your net as wide as possible, increasing the number of good quality applications you receive and allowing you to cherry pick only the most promising talent – take a look at how to post the perfect job advert for more tips in this area.

Finally, you’ll need to put together a training and development plan for your new protégé. You’ll be responsible for the apprentice’s on-the-job training and arranging the supervision, mentoring and support they’ll need whilst working with you, so it’s very important you plan well ahead in order to keep things running smoothly when they start.

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