To mark National Apprenticeship Week, former apprentice and now MD Darren Ryan discusses why employing apprentices can bring a whole host of benefits to your business.

Apprenticeships are becoming a popular alternative to University.

There are far more opportunities for young people now than there were when I began my career 20 years ago.

And yet take-up is upsettingly low.

In 2018/19, 742,400 people enrolled in an apprenticeship scheme according to The House of Commons.

But this is down on 2017/18, where 814,000 apprenticeships were recorded. So why are less people considering an apprenticeship?

Primarily, apprenticeships have received some bad press.

Many businesses have come under scrutiny for taking advantage of young people and using them as ‘cheap labour’ which has no doubt put young people off. But there are others, like outs, who are well aware of the mutual benefits.

My experience of being an apprentice has meant that I am more open to employing apprentices.

In 2014 we employed Jamie Abbott as an apprentice. He completed an NVQ in international trade and logistics which was the same course that I completed aged 16.

I personally mentored Jamie and it’s humbling to see just how far he has come in the last five years. He has been actively involved in growing the export department, opening new markets and providing different transport solutions.  His determination and motivation to succeed has made him invaluable to the team.

Jamie is a prime example of how investing in youth can be hugely beneficial to your business. It also helped him to develop a thriving career path.

For many school leavers or university graduates, an opportunity is all they need. Beginning an apprenticeship and working for a company who is willing to train them and invest in their career is usually the motivation they need to work hard.

It’s also important to remember that apprenticeships aren’t just for young people.

In 2018/19, 46% of apprenticeships were started by people aged 25. Also, there were 21% more apprentices aged between 35 and 44 than in 2017/18.

This shows that there are options for businesses looking to hire an apprentice.

And there are also more opportunities for older employees looking for a change in career.

Historically, more practical jobs like construction were commonly linked to an apprenticeship. But now, with over 1,500 job roles to choose from, an apprenticeship can provide entry into any career.

If you’re looking to employ an apprentice, you can find all the information you need to begin the process on the GOV.UK website. Their guide will tell you all you need to know about funding, employment terms and things to check before hiring.


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