TO MARK National Apprenticeship Week 2022, which runs from 7-13 February and celebrates the apprenticeship community, promotes the benefits of apprenticeships and serves to showcase the resilience of apprentices and employers during the pandemic, David Scott focuses on the overriding importance of the apprenticeship model for the security business sector.
The younger generation is often criticised for many things. However, it cannot be denied that this current generation is full of bright and innovative ideas. A great many of its constituent members are experts in social media, digital technology and software development. Undoubtedly, they will play a vital role in any industry’s long-term success and sustainability, and especially so when it comes to the security and fire sectors.
Apprenticeships are an excellent way in which to encourage young people to develop their core skills as well as a wide range of on the job-related skills in many different environments pertaining to their interests and career choices.
In the coming years, apprentices will be more critical than ever, in no small measure due to COVID-19, Brexit and the ongoing skills shortage, which is estimated to account for a shortage of around 30,000 individuals across the security and fire sectors.
Given all of the recent disruptions across the UK since March 2020, the industry as a whole must have a real focus on training and developing and retaining key staff. With rampant unemployment set to hit young people the hardest from April this year onwards, apprenticeships are arguably the best way in which to help individuals into long-term and sustainable employment.
Further, apprenticeships offer training and improved job prospects. There are many benefits for companies investing in apprenticeships. Here at Skills for Security, we continually strive for high quality and accessible programmes that help to shape young people’s learning experiences.
Benefits of apprenticeships
Learning and development are two of the key pillars supporting the Government’s agenda of levelling up the nation. Apprenticeships are predicted to contribute no less than £3.4 billion to the UK’s economy by the end of this year. Between 2012-2013 and 2021-2022, some 3.8 million individuals will complete an apprenticeship and, in turn, increase productivity gains.
It's reported that, by recruiting an apprentice, the host business will increase overall productivity by circa £214 per week. Subsequently, this allows the host company to grow its profits, offer enhanced products and services, lower prices to its customer base and increase wages for employees.
Apprenticeships are a fantastic way in which to train new staff in cost-effective manner. Young apprentices make contributions to the workplace while they’re learning, gaining valuable skills on the job and receiving Government incentives into the bargain. Apprenticeships may also be externally funded or the training costs otherwise covered elsewhere.
Host businesses can benefit from an apprentice’s work output, while also training a potential long-term employee for the future.
Incentives from Government
The Government wants to encourage businesses to take on apprentices, and it's no wonder. Not only do they provide value for participating businesses and the economy overall, but they also help to reduce the number of young people out of work, which is a pretty serious concern at this moment in time.
If you’re a large levy organisation (ie have a payroll of over £3 million), your apprenticeship training costs will be deducted from your levy pot. There’s no further direct costs to your business.
If you’re a non-levy organisation then you’re in luck. The most you will pay towards apprenticeship training is a 5% contribution. If you were to put someone on an apprenticeship course that costs £10,000, you would only pay £500 for the full duration of that programme.
If you’re a small levy company and recruit someone aged between 16 and 19 years old, you pay 0%. The full costs are covered by the Government.
The Government offers a number of financial incentives. These range from £1,000 per apprentice up to a total of £4,000. Speak to your local training company for the most recently updated figures.
In addition to contributing to the economy with a boost of money and receiving Government incentives, apprenticeships are essential when it comes to providing an extremely skilled workforce. By involving young people in a company environment and providing hands-on learning by way of experienced engineers, apprentices will gain skills and experience that will help them to succeed in their chosen career path, while at the same time consuming the host company’s culture and ethos.
By accepting young people in apprenticeship roles, the host business will be more appealing to students or prospective students in engineering, allowing the company to shape their learning experience. Apprentices will benefit from having direct contact with qualified and experienced engineers, in turn affording them all of the necessary skills they require for a long and successful career.
Boosting the business
Apprentices can give your company the boost that you didn’t even know it needed. An apprentice who’s on hand to take on some of the smaller tasks frees up your more experienced staff to concentrate on key areas of work and spend time on other tasks, making your overall business practices more productive.
Apprentices can also bring a fresh approach to the workplace, which could well have a positive knock-on effect for existing members of staff. Their willingness to learn can realise new ideas for the company and a fresh insight that you may not have considered previously, subsequently allowing your business to benefit from potentially great ideas. It’s a win-win situation.
David Scott is Managing Director of Skills for Security (www.skillsforsecurity.org.uk)