Skills shortages are an increasingly serious issue for businesses in the UK. No more so than when it comes to sales roles. Yet few of those planning to recruit will look for an apprentice. To help rectify the issue the government has pledged to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.
It’s no secret that many industries are facing a skills shortage. In fact, a recent survey by merchant bank Close brothers showed 31% of UK SMEs said that their workforce lacked the skills needed by their business.
Addressing the problem with a well-planned apprenticeship programme is an option for businesses, as it allows them to train workers to fit a business’ specific requirements making them invaluable to the growth of the business.
Taking on an apprentice is a great way to plan for the future and to create your desired business growth in a cost effective manner. Every business needs experienced members of staff, of course they do; but what happens when they want to retire or move on? Employing an apprentice gives your business a young, motivated worker who is keen to learn from your existing team members. What they lack in specific skills in the early days, they more than make up for in enthusiasm and very quickly you’ll find that they are making a valuable difference to your business.
Apprenticeships have evolved so much over recent years and the calibre of candidate choosing this path is fantastic. Not to mention the fact that offering a young person an opportunity is a great way to say thank you to the community that has already supported your business to give you the community status that you have today.
Companies with less than 50 employees, whose apprentice will be aged 16-24, can currently get a grant from the government of up to £1,500. This can be an excellent way to get your apprenticeship scheme off the ground. But if serious about taking on an apprentice. My advice would be to talk to the experts. Here at Positive Outcomes we have a team of expert Engagement Officers who will get to know you, your business and how we can tailor our service to meet your needs. Ask lots of questions and ensure you understand the commitment required of you. This is a great way to increase productivity and growth but it does require commitment from you that you will provide a valuable learning journey for your apprentice which will fully support the achievement of their qualifications.
We do a lot of work with UK businesses wanting to recruit apprentices for sales type roles. Here are my top 3 tips on how to grow your business through an apprenticeship:
The Grow Your Own Approach – Make sure you have a clear journey for your apprentice. This is a great way to make sure your apprentice develops into the employee you want them to be. But to do this you must have the end in mind, and work backwards. What role do you want them doing when they have completed their apprenticeship with you? And therefore what do they need from you to get there?
Innovation sessions – Apprentices are full of ideas and enthusiasm. Capitalise on this. We all know for businesses to thrive, innovation is key. Include your apprentices in brainstorm sessions, or ‘future plans’ meetings, although at times it maybe quite high level thinking, more often than not it takes just one good idea to transform a business. So tap into this energy that your apprentice will bring.
Productivity Reviews – Young adults are quick at tackling tasks, particularly when it comes to all things digital. They were brought up on social media, apps etc. It’s second nature to them. Also, apprentices are quick learners, and willing to learn. They don’t come with bad habits inherited from ex roles, more often than not this will be their first role. So work on this. If there are part of your processes that would benefit from speed, then look to positioning your apprentices in these roles. And review.
By Ryan Longmate, joint managing director of Positive Outcomes, a national training provider specialising in Government-funded apprenticeships. For more information visit their website, or call 0333 433 0123.