In our last Blog, home working vs office, we noted the trend of companies considering adopting a hybrid model, but what does this mean for Apprentices and those currently starting work under the Kickstart scheme?
The primary purpose of an apprenticeship is to train the Apprentice in the sector involved. If you can do that, then there is no reason, legally, why you can't have an apprentice working remotely or from home, but there are some things that employers should consider if you deploy a home or hybrid working policy.
You will need employer liability insurance, add homeworking to your HSE risk assessment. You can leave the Apprentice working unsupervised occasionally; you will need to ensure that you work with your training provider to manage the 20% off the job study time and detail performance targets, time management, compliance and IT procedures.
Many Apprentices who are new to the workplace may not have had the chance to undertake a traineeship or internship due to lockdown. Employers should ensure that Apprentices have the right tools and equipment or PPE to do their job. Set parameters around the working day and breaks. Check if Apprentices have enough space to work, will they be in their bedroom all day, have access to outside space, perhaps provide an additional display screen, mobile phone or internet call app.
Apprentices should be briefed during induction about staying safe when using the Internet personally and for your business. When working at home, encourage them to recognise that people are not always who they say they are online and be informed of the reporting process if they are upset or concerned about anything.
It is important not to overlook the health, wellbeing and Safeguarding of your new Apprentice. Safeguarding means not only ensuring those involved with learners under 18 are DBS checked; it's about ensuring that they are safe from harm.
Regular online meetings will help with your management and contact, but face to face meetings play an integral part in training and helps them get to know you and your business operations better. Line Managers should look for signs of abuse, emotional or physical, radicalisation and extremism, all of which come under Safeguarding.
Employing an Apprentice or Kickstart employee is not difficult if you start the process in the right way. If your business allows, the new flexi-job apprenticeship scheme consultation will mean that you can be flexible with the way your new starter works.
Since lockdown, under 35's account for 635,000 payroll jobs lost in the year to March, with 436,000 of those positions held by people under 25. The Open University estimates that the UK skills shortage is costing organisations £6.3 billion through buying in skills rather than upskilling existing staff.
With the new incentives for hiring an Apprentice or Kickstarter and the proposed Flexi Apprenticeships, there has never been a better or easier time to add talent and skills your workforce.
21 Apr 2021