You're hired, not fired!

It’s that time of year when student’s stomachs are full of butterflies as they collect their GCSE and A-Level results and start making important life choices. With so many options as their next stepping stone we thought that it was a good time to highlight an alternative to University, and the exciting possibilities of apprenticeships.

For many years we have employed a number of people on apprenticeships from those looking to progress in the world of accountancy to individuals wanting business and administration careers.

There are many advantages with this type of training for both the employer and the apprentice, such as;

Learning styles and speeds: Our brains all work in different ways and take on information at different rates. With an apprenticeship most training providers accommodate for this. The course combines “on the job” training with relevant qualifications, which are often completed at the same time. Practical skills are developed in the workplace and this is underpinned by the theory which is learned in the classroom, with regular professional exams which build up the apprentices qualifications.

One of our apprentices was relieved with the fact that if she did not feel fully ready to take an exam she was able to speak to her course tutor and rearrange the exam for a week later, giving her breathing space and additional time to focus on her studies.

Wages: Apprentice’s earn a wage whilst completing the training, which saves on tuition fees at University.

Employers gain the value of an individual that is continuously learning with trained professionals at a reduced expense of the apprenticeship wage.

Personal tuition: Most training takes place at any one of several professional tuition providers and due to smaller classes than you might find at college or University, the classes are more personal, giving the apprentice more security and individual treatment.

Specific for your business: All businesses have their own way of working that can be difficult to pick up. With an apprenticeship, the business gets to train the apprentice in their own methods and “mould” them in a way that best fits them, whilst giving them more responsibility as their skills develop, which is at a level suitable for both the employer and employee. As the business develops, the apprentice grows along with them.

However, as with most things there certain areas that can cause a few worries. Here are a few of our top tips to remember when taking on an apprentice;

Lower wage: Apprentices can be taken on at any age and the apprentice wage structure can make it difficult for some people to make it work financially ( i.e. personal commitments etc.). Make sure you make it clear to the individual what the apprentice wage is.

Learning curve: Bear in mind that you will need to allow for a learning curve as new skills are developed and allow time out of the office for professional study and training. Make sure you accommodate for this in any of your business plans.

Internal support: Some internal support will still be required when the employee is working in the office, to ensure that the best is gained from the apprenticeship from both sides. We recommend assigning them a “buddy” as their point of contact for any queries they might have. This not only gives the apprentice the support they need but gives your “buddy” an extra level of responsibility to progress their skills as well.

Government grants: The government encourage the development of apprenticeships as an alternative to more traditional study routes by offering employers. These can be dependent on job role and area so companies will need to check their individual circumstances to see if they qualify.

Our experience of the apprenticeship scheme has seen many of our people progress towards being fully qualified accountants and beyond. We have had the privilege of meeting some amazing and friendly individuals and watch and help as they grow into confident, knowledgeable accountants.

Ultimately the apprenticeship scheme has given them a post graduate professional qualification and a good few years of solid experience to take forward. We wouldn’t be CCF without them!



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