Following National Apprenticeships Week (usually the first week of February), I have been thinking about the benefits for employers of using Apprenticeships.  You will note that I deliberately avoid saying ‘recruit an Apprentice’: I think we often forget that Apprenticeships can also be a brilliant way to develop existing staff, not just to recruit and train new ones.  So, here are my thoughts on why they are such good things.

Staff loyalty 

According to ONS figures, unemployment is as low as it’s been since the early 1970s so businesses should be keen to nurture and retain their existing staff.  Studies have shown that training Apprentices doesn’t just promote a sense of loyalty in the Apprentice but in the rest of their colleagues too; the ‘good vibes’ of knowing that your employer believes in developing their people.  (And those ‘good vibes’ are likely to extend to your customers too, of course – read more here).

Fit for purpose: written by your industry 

If you were put off by NVQs and BTECs that perhaps didn’t conform to what your expectation of a role was, you can be reassured that the new generation of Apprenticeships were written by people already working in that industry.  Getting together as ‘Trailblazers’, all shapes and sizes of organisation have collaborated on the new Standards, which will now include an industry or vendor qualification in it, so you can be reassured that the learning journey your Apprentice is taking meets the expectations of your industry.  (To read more about the new generation of Apprenticeships, visit the Institute for Apprenticeships website).


The Apprenticeship Levy, which was introduced in May 2016, has caused some confusion amongst employers, I think.  In a nutshell, if your wage bill in England is more than £3m per year, you will be paying into a ‘Levy pot’ with your organisation’s name on it; you can use the content of your pot to pay for Apprenticeship training.  If you don’t use it, you lose it.  If your wage bill is less than that, the Government will still fun at least 90% of the costs of training.  So, contrary to what you may have heard, there is funding available (and it is being reviewed).

A good way to recruit new talent…

If you do choose to recruit a new member of staff to train on an Apprenticeship, as with any recruitment decision, you do need to recruit carefully.  However, make the right choice and you will be amazed how quickly a ‘newby’ can be rolling up their sleeves and mucking in with the rest of your team (and, yes, I speak from personal experience). 

…and to nurture existing talent.

If you’re choosing to upskill an existing member of staff (or even to give them recognition for a role they are already doing), you can unlock boundless enthusiasm and potential that they may not otherwise have had the confidence to show you.

Apprenticeships really are a ‘win-win’ so don’t delay – think about how your business could benefit today.