Holly Weare an apprentice in the Business West Enterprise team, describes why she decided to opt for an apprenticeship and what she hopes to gain from it

“I knew apprenticeships were recognised as an alternative to university and I find my learning style is better suited to a practical environment like the workplace. “Before working for

Business West, I ran a small successful cleaning company but found myself wanting to gain more qualifications aside from my GCSEs. “For me, the apprenticeship is all about

gaining experience, qualifications and earning a wage that will put me in good stead for the future. As a millennial, I will face different career prospects than my parents; therefore it’s important to gain transferable skills that can take me through several career changes. An apprenticeship is a great way to gain those skills. “I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship

and the people I work with are amazing and highly supportive. They understand I’m learning and have lots of questions to ask. I was scared that I wasn't going to have enough to do or be given menial tasks, but it's completely the opposite. “It has honestly exceeded my

expectations. There is a general misconception that by opting for the apprenticeship route you will limit your options. This is not the case. The experience I’m gaining alongside my qualifications, which are job relevant and highly transferable, means I’m in an excellent position for a successful career ahead. “Once I've completed my level 3 Business

Administration, I hope to move onto level 4 Leadership in Management and eventually level 5. On completion of my qualifications, I hope to progress into a more senior role, and hopefully one day become a head of department.”

14 insight MAY/JUNE 2017

By ALEX RICHARDS, Training and Partnership Manager at Business West

business even considering hiring one. This is a big misconception. We’ve entered a


new era for apprenticeships and with the new apprenticeship reforms there’s never been a better time than now to get an apprentice on board. Let’s first address the reasons why small businesses may hold back from hiring an apprentice.

1. It’s too expensive For any business, the biggest concern about hiring an apprentice will be how much it will cost; however it costs a lot less than you think and is actually an affordable way to recruit and train an employee. Small businesses don’t need to pay into the

Apprenticeship Levy system that begins in May 2017. The Government asks that businesses considering hiring an apprentice, with a salary bill of less than £3m, to co-invest ten per cent of training costs, with the government funding the remaining 90%. Small businesses are also eligible for extra

support through funding bands and Apprenticeship Grants for Employers (AGE). This is determined by the age of the apprentice and the number of employees your business has; it must be less than 50.

2. I don’t have time to train them One thing small businesses don’t realise is there’s a lot of support available to take the pressure of an apprentices’ journey. If you’re considering an apprentice, you’ll need to connect with a training organisation that can help you with all of this, from identifying the type of apprenticeship that fits your business requirements, to the recruitment process. Remember; an apprentice spends 20% of their time off-the-job learning and developing their skill requirements for a role in your business too. Apprentices can also give your business a

productivity boost, with 75% reporting that employing an apprentice has improved the quality of their product or service. Also, Learn

here’s an age old myth that apprenticeships cost businesses a lot of money and there’s no point in a small

Keeping you up-to-date with the latest political policies and decisions that affect South West businesses

Apprenticeships in small business

Direct research has shown that apprentices increase productivity by as much as £214 a week. That’s £11,000 a year; not bad for someone you thought you didn’t have time to train.

3. They won’t stick around for long Many fear that they’ll spend time and money training someone up, for them to leave soon after. It’s an understandable fear but with the right work environment and support, an apprentice will feel more comfortable staying in a company that puts employee needs first. In fact, 77% of apprentices have stayed with the same employer, after completing their apprenticeship.

4. I don’t know how to hire an

apprentice This is where Business West can help. Business West have recently launched a new programme – Skills West – which provides free advice on how grow your business through skills development and solve your skills challenges. Dedicated sector specialises will connect you with local and national training providers who will support you in starting the process for hiring an apprentice.

Contact the team today by email, phone 0330 124 4446 or visit our website

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