Taking on an apprentice can have a number of benefits to your business which may not automatically spring to mind. Naturally, giving a placement to an apprentice will reduce your recruitment costs, but there are other advantages, too.
Having your own apprentice is very much like working with a blank canvas. You will be able to train them to the standards that you and your company expects, and the results that you’ll see from your efforts can be extremely rewarding, both personally as well as professionally.
Eager, loyal, grateful
Apprentices are generally eager to learn and more loyal than someone who enters a company via a standard recruitment drive or agency campaign. They have made the decision to be with your company and have selected your industry as their chosen career path. In addition, they’ll also appreciate the time that you put into their future as well.
Youthful drive can boost the entire workforce
Productivity tends to increase when apprentices are part of the workforce, too. 80% of employers who take on an apprentice say that their presence increases overall productivity in the workplace. And, they’ll also give your company’s reputation a boost, as 81% of consumers look favourably upon a company that is willing to give school-leavers a chance.
Selecting your apprentice
As with any new recruit, it is still important to take into account some fundamental questions before you actually employ someone. Look at how the new appointment will benefit your business in the short term; what they will bring to your company in the long term; and whether or not their appointment will generate more money for the business than they’ll cost it. Once you have answered these questions, and are happy with the answers, it’s time to move on to making your selection.
The four key considerations
Getting the right person for the role that you wish to fill is always essential, regardless of whether you are employing from the open job market or taking on an apprentice. Although apprentices can often be moulded into the kind of employee that you want to have on your books, there are four key areas that you’ll be well advised to look at before taking anyone on:
1. A solid commitment to learning
Looking into whether or not the candidate has the ability to take on board the knowledge that you will be providing them with is an essential component to selecting a good apprentice. They will effectively be working and learning at the same time, so try and make a sound judgement on whether or not you think that they will be able to cope with such a workload when you interview them.
2. Do they have an interest in your sector?
A good apprentice will not simply be looking for somewhere to work; they should also be able to demonstrate to you their interest in your industry as well. Genuinely enthusiastic candidates will shine through at this point. Take note of anyone who has a real passion for what your company does as this can often be enough to push an apprentice on to success if they are given a chance to learn.
3. What are they like with people?
Although apprenticeships come at what is an awkward age for many youngsters, you should still try to find candidates who are open and willing to communicate freely – especially in customer facing industries such as hospitality. Allow them to speak as much as possible during the interview process so that you can see how they handle conversation in a pressurised situation.
4. Take note of previous academic achievements
While academic awards are certainly not a foolproof way of ensuring that you have the right candidate, they can help point you in the right direction if your apprenticeship program relies upon the candidate passing an external examination. Use your own judgement here, and combine what you find academically with the results from the other three points to give yourself a broader picture of your candidate.
Concentrating on these four points will give you a sound base upon which to form your opinion of a candidate for apprenticeship. Making the right decision and giving someone a chance to learn and grow within your company can be great for business. So, next time you are looking to recruit new staff, ask yourself whether an apprentice would be able to fill the role. It could be the best staffing decision you’ll ever make.
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