Dear Business Owners: Should you hire an apprentice?

Date: 23/11/20  |  Author: Lisa Gilham
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How hiring an apprentice works and how will you benefit from it.

What is an Apprentice?

Apprenticeships (normally) offer approximately 80% in house training and 20% off the job (by the training provider e.g. PETA - the training people in Cosham, not the one for animal rights). It is common practice that they will find themselves at college one day per week to learn the theory which will lead them to becoming qualified.

What sectors can you hire an apprenticeship in?

Many different sectors offer apprenticeships. The most popular include: Creative, media, arts, and digital technologies, Information and communication technology, TV production and broadcasting, Business management, administration, law, and financial services etc.

You can offer different levels of apprenticeship:

2 - intermediate (GCSE)

3 - advanced ( A level)

4, 5, 6, 7 - Foundation degree and above

6, 7 - Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree

Who can apply?

Someone aged 16 or over by the end of the summer holidays, that is living in England and not in full-time education

Apprentices are generally 16 to 24 year olds. For those 25+, you can still offer an adult apprenticeship.

Program length:

Apprenticeship programs generally last 12 months to a few years (4 or so), depending on the level of the course.


Hours that you can offer an apprentice vary - from a minimum of 30 hours, to a maximum of 40 hours per week. Unless they are a carer, they can do 16 hours.

Why hire an apprentice?

Apprentices will get professional development in the workplace as well as learning the theory. Apprentices generally have day release at college as 20% of their time is expected to be training.

Employees get to learn and earn which means for a more motivated employee.

They generally stay on after their apprenticeship has finished - meaning that you gain a trained employee who is more efficient at their job role as they get to learn practical skills that are specific to what they do - especially if you have a good training scheme in place. Your employee will also have had external help from the apprenticeship provider - as well as being with other like minded individuals in the same class - meaning that they could get inspiration from others too.

‘Research has shown that because Apprentices feel valued in the workplace, they are loyal employees and this improves your staff retention and helps to build and sustain a strong team ethic within your company’.

Where can you post out apprenticeship opportunities?

  • Government website
  • Indeed
  • Reed

Alternative options to an apprentice - 

  • Hire a trainee instead?
  • Hire someone commission based?
  • Outsource? - freelancers/self employed?


In house (internal) and external training - generally 80-20 split.

Train them in house - they will grow into the job - shaping them is far easier than someone who is older and rooted in their ways.

External training - generally college once a week - gets qualified, lots of knowledge, contacts, and communication with like minded individuals - bounce ideas off of one another.

More reasons to get an apprentice/younger employee:

  • Energy, fresh face and a good coffee maker (joking, they get treated like an actual employee).
  • Innovative - school or college leaver generally. 
  • Determination. 
  • Fit if they are in a trade such as builder or landscaper, which requires lots of physical activity. 
  • Generally more tech savvy than older generations.

Financial support from Government

Grants from the government are paid to you over a period of time, but could be used to provide extra training e.g. in PR or Bookkeeping - whatever suits their role the best or to be put towards their equipment such as a laptop and some uniform.

You can pay for their training, as well as their wage, however ‘in many cases, the government will cover the entire cost of an apprentice’s training. The amount you receive will depend on the age of the apprentice, but it is often possible to have the costs removed altogether’. 

I know of companies that have recieved £500 after hiring an apprentice for 6 months, after a further few months, they get another £500. Currently, during the 2020 Pandemic, this has increased to £2000/3000 as a financial incentive to start employing. This could pay for their work station, equipment and some of their wages or bonuses.

Minimum Apprentice wage from £4.15 or so per hour which is lower compared to the minimum wages for each age group. 

Apprentices can work out as less expensive than a regular employee as the government pays for training in some cases. Plus, the cost of each apprentice you get goes down. The end result will be an amazing employee.


What now?

Look into getting an Apprentice

Lots of love from the Dream Team at Diverso.


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