According to a report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) earlier this year, the number of apprenticeships in the UK has roughly doubled since the economic crisis, rising to more than 400,000 in 2013/14.
For apprentices, the benefits are clear – they get a clear and accessible route into a career, relevant and specific training, and the ongoing support of a business that’s prepared to invest in them. But in practice, the business itself often stands to gain at least as much as the trainee. Here are just a few of the most valuable benefits of bringing an apprentice into your manufacturing workshop.
They could bring you more business
It’s a fact that customers like a business that invests in young people. According to Cebr’s research, one in four consumers said they would be more likely to pay extra for goods and services from a company that employs apprentices. If every UK business took one on, that would amount to around £18 billion of additional consumer spending per year.
On top of that, one in five consumers said they associated companies that offered apprenticeships with high-quality goods and services, and one in four associated them with providing a more friendly service.
They’ll make your company more productive
Apprentices want to impress. They’re ready to work hard and are usually among some of the most eager and motivated workers you’re likely to find. But Cebr’s report has now put a quantifiable value on their contribution. The average apprentice, while still in training, translates to a positive net gain of around £1,600 per year for their employer – and once fully trained, apprentices in the engineering and manufacturing sector provide long-term productivity gains of almost £20,000 per year.
They can help you connect with the community
Helping young workers through the first steps of their careers obviously comes with its own moral rewards. But as well as giving something back to the community, it’s also a great way to help your company position itself within that community – getting something back from giving something back. More than two thirds of consumers surveyed by Cebr said that offering apprenticeships was “a key part of a company’s engaging with, and contributing to, society.”
They could make you a better employer
As if productivity gains, higher demand and an improved image in the community weren’t reasons enough to start taking on apprentices, it could also do wonders for your workers, too. According to industry research by Skills Training UK, 80% of companies that invest in apprentices see an increase in staff retention, and an overwhelming 92% of businesses said that apprenticeships lead to a more satisfied and motivated workforce.
Whether you’re investing in the community or just out to boost your business, apprenticeships should be given some serious thought. The perception is that apprentices are committed and eager to please. The Cebr report provides evidence of how this commitment can result in truly impressive business benefits.
To find out more, head over to the government’s guide to employing apprentices - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeships-guide-for-employers
By Richard Morris, CEO, Evans Easyspace