Could apprenticeships be the answer to your prayers?

Business Growth Apprenticeships - Emily
Emily, with Award sponsor Gary Neild – 2017.


Emily is now a professional and dedicated freelance PA, with vast experience from a career in Human Resources.

In 2017, whilst employed with Atlas Elektronik, Emily was recognised by the Dorset Chamber Business Awards for her company’s ‘Outstanding Contribution to Apprenticeships’ – a programme Emily single-handedly designed and managed in her role as Senior Learning and Development Officer. With full support from senior management, Emily developed a fresh talent pool for the company with some incredibly valuable results for all involved.

In this blog, Emily shares her insight and experience, bringing to light a real potential for YOUR business.

Calling all small businesses… have you realised that apprentices are for YOU?

Written by Emily Fuller, The Passionate PA for Weymouth and West Dorset

Throughout my extensive career in HR, I have developed a passion for people and employed many apprentices. Since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, I truly believe that it is small businesses that stand to gain the most from employing apprentices. With all the challenges small businesses face, you’d be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed and frustrated right now. But, there is a largely untapped resource available that you could benefit from.

In a nutshell, here are the facts:

  • As a small business, employing less than 50 people, the government will pay 100% of the costs of the apprentice training, up to the funding band maximum. This in fact means that you could utilise up to £27,000 worth of training for a member of your team for free!
  • If you hire an apprentice before the 31st January 2021 you can claim an additional incentive payment of up to £2000 if they are aged 16-24, and up to £1,500 of they are aged 25+, with an extra £1000 available if you employ a 16 – 18 year old or someone with additional needs. These payments apply even if you employ an apprentice that has been made redundant from another company due to the Coronavirus, so they would be joining you already with skills you can use.
  • Apprentice salary expectations are lower than those of people coming into your business that still may require training to get them up to speed. It is well known that you can pay apprentices a very low wage, but this really should be reviewed against the job they are doing, not just regarded as ‘cheap labour’.
  • You will develop skilled, home-grown employees that know your business from the ground up.
  • The training that your apprentice does is adapted to suit your company.
  • You will gain fresh, new approaches and opinions, especially if you recruit from the technology savvy ‘generation Z’.
  • You can use the recruitment of an apprentice to upskill other members of your team by completing knowledge transfers based on the training they are receiving, introduce reverse mentoring, as well as use the opportunity to allow someone with management potential to take the lead on managing the apprentice.
  • You will experience increased productivity from the addition of the apprentice, as 78% of employers asked by the government reported improved productivity after recruiting an apprentice.

In my experience, all apprentices that I have employed have benefited the organisation and all recruiting line managers have requested more apprentices to join their teams year on year. 90% of the apprentices that I have hired have secured full-time permanent jobs with the companies and the other 10% have benefited from identifying their next career step externally from the company which they completed their apprenticeship with.

The belief that it is the duty of big companies to employ apprentices because they have the capacity to do so, is out of date. Apprentices really do add value and the list of additional benefits outlined above highlights only a small number of reasons why small businesses really should be looking to employ apprentices to fill their skills gaps and build a resilient workforce for the future of their company.

If you’d like an exploratory conversation about whether apprentices could be right for you and your business, book a free 121 with me by emailing

You can find out more about Emily by clicking here!

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