Apprenticeships “Grow your own staff”
Recent employment figures show that the market for attracting good employees is shrinking as the numbers of unemployed people diminish and the rate of employed people rises.
The young are a group of people that often struggle to get work as a result of the vicious circle of lack of experience and companies often reluctant to recruit inexperienced staff.
Not all young people want to spend 3 years or sometimes longer at University or have the option to go to University and that is where Apprenticeships can fill a much-needed gap in both the workforce for the employer, and the experience gap for the employee.
Traditionally Apprenticeships were confined to and associated with trades such as Electricians, Plumbing, Bricklaying and Joinery, the more “hands on skills” in the manual labour markets that require these employees to have qualifications gained on experiential learning and practical skills assessments. These Apprenticeships had their own Apprenticeship Agreements under which it could be difficult sometimes to resolve problems with the employee. They usually involved long periods of time such as 3 years to achieve full qualification.
However, the New Modern Apprenticeship agreements are a great relief for many employers giving more flexibility to the employer and can involve shorter fixed term contracts such as 1 year.
Today’s Apprenticeship schemes cover a wide range of training and skill development opportunities for example, office-based skills as Administration, Accounts and even Management Training. They cover a wide range of industries too such as Care, Engineering, Manufacturing as well as those sectors traditionally known for apprenticeships such as Construction and the beauty industries such as Hairdressers.
There are real benefits to Apprenticeships for both employees and employers. The cost of employing Apprentices is lower as they are subject to a lower National Minimum Wage than the other employee rates. The company gets someone who is willing to learn and develop and is keen to grow in a trade of their choice whilst being paid to learn. For the apprentice they become an Employee in the workforce the same as any other and can be dealt with in the same way as any other employee should there be an issue, if the procedures are correctly followed. The Employer also has the support of the college in terms of monitoring progress of the Apprentice.
Under the new Apprenticeships scheme an employer has to engage with a local college for the education part of the Apprenticeship and pay for the time that the employee is in attendance there and the course that they are registered to attend which is usually one day a week. The employer needs to make sure that the contract of employment has a clear Apprenticeship Agreement attached to it making it clear that they are an Apprentice and that the contract is for a fixed term of that Apprenticeship with no guarantee of work at the end as a qualified person.
If the Apprenticeship does not work out as a result of capability problems, then employers can still dismiss the employee on the grounds of Capability provided due process is followed. If the College feels the Apprentice is not going to achieve the required standard and withdraws their support then a dismissal for Some Other Substantial Reason may be affected.
The dismissal of an Apprentice should be done following discussions with the college as well as the Apprentice themselves and guidance should be sort from your HR representative in all cases, as failure to follow the correct procedures can lead to a claim in the Employment Tribunals as Apprentices are covered from day one of employment for the purposes of employment law and can claim the remainder of the fixed term costs on the contract as compensation for future loss of earnings because of the loss of becoming qualified in their particular skill.
If you would like further advice and support on Apprenticeships please contact Clover HR on 0121 5160299 or 01905 824051 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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