By Melanie Dawson, Marketing Co-ordinator, Sage UK Ltd

University places are tougher to find than ever. On average, four students are vying for each university place in the country.

But that could be good news for you. It means that there are thousands of high-calibre young people who could benefit from an apprenticeship at your company.

Modern apprenticeships are now considered extremely important for many school-leavers’ career paths. Many businesses prefer to see a candidate who has hands-on experience their sector than formal qualifications alone.

And apprenticeships have never offered more to employers than they do now.

The business benefits to you speak for themselves:

- High-quality talent, as university places become fewer and more expensive.

- Low salary expenditure: apprentice minimum wage is £2.50 an hour.

- Fresh and enthusiastic apprentices can improve workplace morale.

- Fill skill gaps, as the Government pay for apprentice training.

- Reduced recruitment costs: training apprentices is often more cost-effective than hiring skilled workers.

What else should I know?

- Apprentices usually work at least 30 hours a week.

- An apprenticeship is a tripartite arrangement between the apprentice, the employer and the provider of the off-the-job element of the training (often a local college).

- Your responsibilities would include inducting apprentices, providing on-the-job training and paying wages.

- Apprentices are engaged as employees and work under the terms and conditions of a contract of employment and benefit from the full range of employment rights.

- You can take on as many apprentices as you want.

Sage People Advice: For help with any areas of HR, Employment Law and Health and Safety for your business, contact our Sage People Advice team on 0845 111 2450.

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