Want an apprentice? Get a grant - Business Works
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Want an apprentice? Get a grant

Rachael Fidler, MD, HTP Training More and more businesses are now recognising that apprenticeships offer an effective way of securing competent members of staff and are now reaping the benefits of the Apprenticeship Grant, recently introduced by the UK Government. Securing this funding is certainly advantageous but some employers are being left somewhat confused and frustrated with the complex application process - to the point where they are often put off from pursuing it beyond an initial enquiry. Rachael Fidler, Managing Director of HTP Training explains how businesses can grasp the full benefits of taking on an apprentice and secure the allocated government funding.

The statistics speak for themselves. 80% of employers say that their apprentices make their workplace more productive and 92% of employers with apprentices say they believe apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce. No wonder then that an increasing number of organisations are now looking to secure apprentices for their business. The recent introduction of a Government Apprenticeship Grant is providing further incentive for businesses employing less than 250 members of staff to take on an apprentice. So, if you are business how do you secure this Apprenticeship Grant?

Do you qualify for a grant?

If you employ less than 250 members of staff, have not taken on an apprentice for the last three years and are looking for an apprentice who is 16 - 24 years old then you are eligible for the £1500 government grant.

Is an apprentice right for you?

An apprentice is not a short-term solution. First, evaluate why you want an apprentice and what you want them to achieve. What do you want the apprentice to contribute to your business and what can the apprentice gain themselves? You need to see the apprentice as an integral member of your kitchen, restaurant or hotel and not a 'temp' who will help you to secure a government grant.

You need to do this with an understanding that an apprenticeship is a long-term commitment with honesty at its heart. Bear in mind that an apprentice is a learner and requires an investment of not just finance, but also time. Once you have established that an apprentice is right for your business, contact the National Apprenticeship Service or a specialist apprenticeship training provider to talk about your requirements. By being forthcoming and truthful your training provider can ensure that the apprenticeship meets your exact requirements. It's important to note that the government department responsible for the apprenticeship grant has a robust system in place to check companies for eligibility.

What does it cost?

The minimum wage for an apprentice is currently £2.65 per hour (from 1 October 2012). What's important to bear in mind is that the grant is paid over two instalments: £750 is paid when the apprentice has completed week eight of their apprenticeship and the final instalment is paid on completion of the programme - which is usually a year. It is paramount that you set aside the necessary funds to be able to pay your apprentice on time and not rely solely on the grant.

It is a three way relationship

At first glance it may seem like the application process is complicated however, most training providers will walk you through the paperwork and provide support when you come to complete it. Following the completion of the paperwork the training company will then advertise the position, at no cost to you, to find suitable candidates. Applicants will then be screened to ensure that they fit your requirements for example, have a passion for cooking / baking or want to work in Food & Beverage. The most suitable candidate will then be sent over to you for interview selection. Once you have selected your applicant, the next stage is for the training company to work with you and the chosen apprentice to develop a training framework.

This framework incorporates your requirements and what the apprentice wants to get out of the programme. What makes apprenticeships so effective for employers is that it provides them with a member of staff who is trained specifically to meet the organisation's needs. For an apprentice, it provides them with a qualification and on the job training, allowing them to develop specific business skills which will help to strengthen their capabilities and experience, positioning them favourably for future employment.

For more information, please visit: www.htptraining.com

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