Why apprenticeships are good for your business

An apprenticeship is a way for young people and adult learners to earn while they learn; in a real job gaining real qualifications.

Businesses benefit from growing their own talent and creating a highly motivated and skilled workforce.

The benefits of apprenticeships are:

  • They are a tried and tested way to recruit new staff, perhaps retrain, or upskill existing staff or people returning to work after a break;
  • The apprentice learns while they earn!
  • On the job training means minimum disruption to day to day business activity whilst getting the maximum impact;
  • Apprenticeships can be tailored to specific job roles making them flexible to the meet needs of your business;
  • Engaging young people and encouraging them to take up apprenticeships and continual professional development will assist your business with its plan for succession – hopefully your business will not suffer with an aging workforce;
  • Train up the future managers in your business;
  • Become an employer that inspires a future generation by passing on skills and experience;
  • Help improve your product or service with apprentice input;
  • Apprenticeships boost productivity to business by on average £214 per week.

An apprenticeship can take between one and five years to complete, depending on the role.  There are three levels of apprenticeship available:

  • Intermediate level apprenticeship (level 2) – equivalent to 5 A*- C GCSE’s;
  • Advanced level apprenticeship (level 3) – equivalent to 2 A-levels;
  • Higher level apprenticeship (level 4 and above).

There has never been a better time to hire an apprentice.  There is a wealth of support and assistance available to business to make sure they hire the right apprentice for them.

Where to start:

  • Choose a training provider to deliver the apprenticeship programme that is right for your business;
  • Recruit the apprentice (the training provider can help you here);
  • Develop a training plan which reflects the apprentice’s need and yours;
  • Engage with the apprentice and ensure their needs and yours are met;

More information on how to hire an apprentice is available at: www.gov.uk/take-on-an-apprentice/overview.

During the apprenticeship:

  • Provide on-site training to support the apprentice. Most of the training will be on-the-job, working with a mentor to learn specific skills. Off-the-job training is provided by the training provider either in the workplace, or through day/block release away from the workplace.
  • Review and test the progress of an apprentice and provide feedback to them and their training provider

Apprenticeships are highly regarded within business. On completion of an apprenticeship, 90% of apprentices remain in employment with just over 70% staying with the same employer.   If you are considering  growth in your business and thinking about how to integrate young people into your workforce, then please contact me for some help and guidance debbie@peptalk-uk.com or 0792 700 8440.

Feedback from Leadership and Management Seminar – November 2015

In November 2015, I ran a leadership and management course for 10 local business owners. The business owners are all members of the Business Growth Group, each with different experience. This allowed for lots of great discussion and sharing of thoughts and ideas. Here are some of the comments from the attendees about what they enjoyed and how they benefited from the session.

“Thought provoking 3 hours.”

“Relative to my business.”

“Open talk from students.”

“The thought provoking process about your business.”

“The specificity and use of examples from the room.”

“A lot of very useful and helpful reminders. Some very practical tips.”

“A very useful reminder of leadership skills.”

“The basic information was presented in an easy to understand way. Just reminded me on the basics.”

“I liked the open discussion where I could say something about my business.”

“First course of this type that I have done and I got more out of it than I thought I would.”

“Would recommend the course for any person starting out in a management position.”

Business Mentoring – Client Feedback

Feedback from a Freelance Writer and Editorial Consultant.

“Debbie’s business insight is invaluable. She got to the heart of the matter within minutes and has completely revolutionised the way I look at my business.”



Recruitment – hints and tips for a successful campaign

A business’ workforce is it’s greatest asset and this puts pressure on managers to make sure they have the right people in the right jobs.  So what happens when a manager identifies a gap in their workforce? It’s time to recruit!

Once managers have identified a need to recruit there are many questions to be answered; what are the tasks of the role? Is the job likely to be temporary/permanent? Could it be done part time/full time? If there is no one available internally to complete the tasks, then there is a need to recruit externally.

Having an accurate and up to date job description and person specification for the vacancy is an important first this will help managers write an effective job advert.

The job description should include the job title and position within the business and who it it accountable to, location, key tasks and responsibilities, qualifications required, an indication of the type of person the role would suit and any information on salary/benefits. It should give potential applications a good idea of what they would be doing, should they be appointed the role.

A person specification details the ideal skills and characteristics of the person for the role, divided into a list of ‘essentials’ and ‘desirables’.  Managers could include relevant qualifications, previous training or certificates.  The person specification may also include personal qualities such as being able to work in a team, or being self-motivated.  It is important to keep the person specification relevant to the job and remember that the Equality Act prohibits discrimination on grounds of race, sex, disability, sexual orientation and religion or belief.  It is not advisable to ask for a certain number of years experience as you could miss out on excellent candidates if they fall short of the length of experience asked for.  In addition, by specifying a certain number of years experience managers are also at risk of indirectly discriminating people.

Once managers have the job description and person specification, it’s time to write the job advert! Although the aim of the advert is to attract applicants, it is important not to embellish or exaggerate to attract applicants as this runs the risk of hiring applicants who are unsuitable, or become unhappy in the role – this can lead to increased staff turnover and ultimately cost the business. The job advert should include the job title and outline the key tasks and responsibilities of the role, the company name and brief overview of what the company does, the location, any role specific qualifications required, any key personal qualities required, salary and benefits, how to and to whom to apply and specify a closing date for applications.

Once the advert is written, managers need to consider where to advertise the position ensuring that the advert will be seen by the most suitable potential applicants. For example, it is unlikely to be effective to post an advert for an engineering role in a marketing magazine. You could consider advertising via the Job Centre, recruitment agencies, local and or national newspapers, subject specific magazines, social media or even schools or colleges.

Consideration also needs to be given to how applicants should apply for the job and this should be made clear in the job advert.  Are they to email a CV? Complete an application form? Write a letter of application?  There are pros and cons to each method, depending on the type of role which is being recruited. An application form allows you to obtain specific information from applicants, but it is important to remember to only ask for information specific to the job for which they are applying. For a more creative role, a letter of application may give applicants a better way to demonstrate their skills and experience.

By following this process, managers will have optimised the chances of their job advert reaching the most suitable applicants for the role.  The manager’s work is not yet done however, as following the successful recruitment campaign – it will be time for selection and to make sure the best candidate is chosen for the role! Keep an eye out for a future post with hints and tips on the selection process.