Apprenticeship in a butcher shop

4 months ago

The SME’s Guide to National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is an annual Government-led initiative which falls on the week commencing Monday 5th February for 2024. The programme seeks to bring businesses and apprentices together, highlighting both the value of apprenticeships to young people and the value apprentices can bring to SMEs.

For small businesses, NAW serves as an opportunity to explore the benefits of apprenticeships, consider their involvement and make a positive impact on their workforce.

How to Get Involved

Do Your Research

Before diving in, take the time to understand the apprenticeship landscape, including available programmes, incentives and support structures. This knowledge will be vital to making informed decisions and maximising the benefits of apprenticeships.

Work with Providers

Partnering with local secondary schools, colleges, or training providers is essential to the structure of effective apprenticeship programmes. These partnerships can facilitate access to training resources and ensure that apprentices receive the right education.

Utilise Government Support

There are incentives and support available for businesses engaged in apprenticeships. From financial incentives to streamlined processes, taking advantage of these offerings can make apprenticeships more appealing for your business.

Access the Toolkit

From social media assets to a comprehensive guide, the NAW toolkit provides businesses with everything they need to get involved with the initiative.

Apprentice in a hard hat

Get to an Event

With 471 events at the time of writing, from Glasgow to Dover, there are plenty of opportunities to attend an apprenticeship event. These fairs are an ideal opportunity for employers to connect with educators, initiatives and ambitious young people to learn more.

Get Inspired

Get inspired by the award winners who are championing apprenticeships, giving new skills to the next generations, and even promoting social justice causes. Honourees come from a wide range of backgrounds, with 308 British towns and an age range of 17-66 represented.

Why You Should Consider an Apprenticeship

Skill Development

Limited resources often force small businesses to work with limited resources, making hiring employees with specific skills challenging. Apprenticeships offer a unique opportunity to mould workers to fit the company's needs.

Cost-Effective Recruitment

Apprenticeships provide an affordable and efficient way for small businesses to recruit and train new talent. The cost of training an apprentice is often lower than hiring an experienced professional.

Enhanced Productivity

Apprenticeships could help to foster a culture of learning and development in the workplace. The fresh perspective and enthusiasm of apprentices can also increase productivity and creativity.

Success Stories

In this section, we take a look at the experiences of a few individuals who have benefitted from apprenticeships as a pathway to new opportunities. These stories shed light on the diverse ways apprenticeships have opened doors to professional growth and personal development.

New Opportunities in NHS Nursing

In her apprenticeship within the National Health Service, Sarah, a 50-year-old trainee ophthalmic nurse from Norfolk, found a strong sense of support and care. While facing the challenge of pursuing a nursing degree, the apprenticeship became the gateway for Sarah to enter the healthcare sector.

Tuning into a TV Career

Alim, a 22-year-old from London, reflects on his apprenticeship with TV giant Channel 4 as the best time of his life. Discovered by his mum, the programme provided him with the chance to pursue his passion, meet new people and build his confidence.

Learning and Earning Backstage

Hosanna, an 18-year-old technical apprentice in London, discovered the confidence to pursue her apprenticeship in theatre, knowing it was her true calling. She enjoys the varying working hours and meeting different people, creating an exciting day-to-day environment.

From Uncertainty to Six Figures

Ella, a 22-year-old operations manager in Gloucestershire, found herself at a crossroads after sixth form. Introduced to an apprenticeship opportunity through an ad in the local paper, Ella seized the chance to kickstart her career journey. Her goal is now to achieve a six-figure salary by 30, highlighting the potential of apprenticeship programmes.

These cases highlight the pivotal role apprenticeships play in shaping careers and emphasise the invaluable hands-on experience that comes from these programmes.

Investing in the Future

Adapting to an increased wage bill after taking on an apprentice can be challenging. Fortunately, options are available to help small businesses bridge the gap between existing resources and higher payroll expenditure.

In Conclusion

National Apprenticeship Week 2024 presents a unique opportunity for small businesses to embrace these programmes, contribute to a skilled workforce, and reap the associated rewards. SMEs can enhance their operations and play a pivotal role in shaping the future of their team.

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Sam White