What to consider when hiring an apprentice

By Jill Whittaker

- Last updated on GMT

For National Apprenticehip Week HIT Training talks through the steps employers can follow to hire an apprentice
For National Apprenticehip Week HIT Training talks through the steps employers can follow to hire an apprentice

Related tags: Apprenticeship, Vocational education, Training

At the start of National Apprenticeship Week 2016 Jill Whittaker, managing director of HIT Training discusses considerations for hospitality businesses when hiring an apprentice. 

Hiring any new member of staff can be a challenging and time consuming task especially if, like most hospitality businesses at the moment, there are multiple positions to fill.

For an industry which is in the midst of a skills shortage, apprenticeship programmes can be a practical solution when it comes to bringing new talent into the profession. Apprenticeships also play an important role in developing existing team members and can be set up if there is significant learning to be done within a role.

To help with the process of hiring and setting up apprentices, here are some valuable tips: 

Knowing the Basics

There are many types of apprenticeships available across a wide variety of roles in the hospitality industry. From waiting staff, baristas and receptionists, to team leaders, porters and chefs, there are intermediate, advanced, higher and degree-level training courses available for all positions and ability levels.

Apprenticeships take the format of on-the-job training and the learners will work with a mentor to study role-specific skills.  Typically, most businesses work with an external training provider, which will set the course structure, assess the apprentices’ development and carry out examinations – acting as a support network for both the employer and the apprentice.   

Understanding the Regulations

When it comes to hiring or appointing an apprentice, there are a number of standards set out by the Government which need to be met. For example, an apprenticeship must be a minimum of 12 months long, include 280 hours of guided learning and 30 working hours a week. Learners must receive training in Level 2 English and maths if they do not already have these qualifications, and have to sign an Apprenticeship Agreement with their employer, which stipulates the framework of the programme. 

Support Available

Depending on the age of the apprentice, there are Government funding options available for businesses. The Department for Education (DfE) funds 100 per cent of the training costs for apprentices under 19 doing intermediate or advanced courses, while The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), funds 50 per cent of the training costs for apprentices aged 19 and over. 

In the autumn 2015 Budget, the Government also announced that it would be implementing an Apprenticeship Levy from April 2017.  This is effectively a business tax for large employers, set at a rate of 0.5%, which will help to raise £3 billion and fund three million new apprenticeships.  Every employer will receive a £15,000 allowance to offset against the Levy and spend on apprenticeship training.

Business owners should look to ensure they receive maximum value from their Levy payments, which will in turn provide an unprecedented level of access to training and skills development to employees.  This offers huge benefits to the Hospitality Industry, which can nurture home-grown talent at all levels, boosting the bottom-line and off-setting the Levy payments to generate an engaged and skilled workforce for the future. 

Benefits Available

Before hiring an apprentice, or setting up an apprenticeship programme, operators need to be aware of the benefits this will offer not just to the learner, but to their business.  By having a better understand of the benefits, business owners will be able to ensure that they’re getting the most out of the training programme and are developing their team. 

The benefits of hiring an apprentice include: 

  • Apprentices in the Hospitality Sector deliver an average positive net gain of £5,896 per annum to their employers, compared to an average £1,670 per annum net gain for apprentices across England according to research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research. 
  • Hiring an apprentice can also have a positive impact on the whole team, with 80 per cent of employers responding to a survey by Skills Training UK stating a significant increase in employee retention.
  • 92 per cent of companies find that having an apprenticeship programme has led to a more motivated and satisfied team says Skills Training UK. 
  • Skills Training UK also reports that 72 per cent of establishments report an increase in productivity of £214 per week from employing an apprentice
  • 90 per cent of apprentices stay in employment after finishing their qualification, with 71  per cent staying with the same employer (CIPD).
  • According to the Skills Funding Agency, apprenticeships aren’t just for school leavers, with qualifications such as the Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in Hospitality Management, this style of training can help the 25+ age bracket, who are in more senior positions, to further develop their skills and progress their careers.

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