Growing your business
Hospitality: Offering Apprenticeships
These days, apprenticeships are no longer confined to school leavers and graduates but apply to people of all ages and levels who are looking to upskill, cross-skill or change career. And with the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017, more and more businesses are looking at how they can use the scheme to offer opportunities for apprentices while also bridging the skills gap in the workplace.
What is the Apprenticeship Levy?
In April 2017, the government introduced the Apprenticeship Levy, a scheme which aims to raise funds and increase the number of apprenticeships offered in the UK. For businesses with an annual pay bill of over £3 million, 0.5% of this will automatically be paid into an apprenticeships fund which will see the government contribute an additional 10%.
For those businesses who fall under the annual bill of £3 million, they won’t need to pay into the fund. However, they are able to get access to training which the government will subsidise (up to 90%) leaving the employer to pay the other 10%.
And for businesses with under 50 employees, they won’t need to pay anything at all so long as they employ apprentices under the age of 19, receiving a £1,000 payment and an additional £1,000 payment to the training provider.
How is this relevant for the hospitality sector?
The role of apprenticeships could help to solve many problems that the hospitality sector currently face, such as the need for more skilled and well-trained staff in the workplace. Offering the right training programmes not only offers opportunities to new apprentices but also helps to channel much-needed skills into businesses, reduce turnover rates and cut down recruitment costs. Not to mention, fostering a generally happier workforce!
According to statistics from Gov.uk, 89% of apprentices are satisfied with their apprenticeship, 97% of apprentices said their ability to do the job had improved, and 92% of apprentices said that they had better career prospects.
So if you’re thinking of taking on apprentices, here’s how you can get started:
Opportunities for Training
When it comes to offering the right sort of training for staff, it’s important to look at all the options that are on offer. As the majority of your apprentice's time will be spent in training, it’s essential to find the right training provider who covers all the topics, skills and areas of the business that are most valuable.
Doing a bit of research beforehand is key. You should set out a plan for your apprentice, scoping out what they will get from the training and how it will fit in with the rest of your business function. Remember, this a mutually beneficial set up so make sure that both parties will get the most from the training.
You should be looking at the skills and qualifications each training provider provides, whether the length of the programme fits in with your plan, the funding options, and the completion and satisfaction rates. You can find all this information on the Gov.uk website where you can search by keyword to find programmes in your sector and area.
Just as you would when you employ staff, you want to find someone who is a good fit for your business and who you can see working well within your team. You can advertise your apprenticeship vacancy through the Recruit An Apprentice site and take applicants from there or speak to your training provider for more options.
Once you’ve chosen an apprentice to take on, it’s important to draw up a formal agreement. This should state what you’ll be offering your apprentice (including training), the length of their employment, and the conditions of their work with you. While drawing this up, you may also want to look the rights and benefits that apprentices are entitled to and make sure you’re covered.
Once you’ve hired an apprentice or apprentices, you can assess how this is working for your business and whether you want to continue or take on more. With many clear benefits for both parties, if it’s something you’re thinking of trying, now’s the time to do it!