If you think you need an Apprentice, you do, and you're not alone!

If you think that you need some help, whether for developing new strategies or products for your business, you need administrative help or looking for a way to fill vacancies or skills gaps within your company, apprenticeships are a great and cost-efficient way to do so.

The Government is pushing vocational training as a route into the workplace. In October's Autumn Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak promised the UK a £2bn "skills revolution", with £170m dedicated to apprenticeships and training. Good news, at a time when many students are questioning the expensive of a £9,250 per year degree.

Ahead of National Apprenticeship Week, The Open University and The 5% Club found that nearly three quarters (70%) of employers held the belief that apprenticeships and work-based learning would be vital to their organisation's recovery from COVID disruption, compared to just half (50%) of business in August of 2020*. Some of the top findings are listed below:-

  • 96% of employers recommend employing an apprentice
  • 88% of employers think apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce
  • The average apprenticeship completer increases business productivity by £214 per week
  • 59% of apprenticeship employers say training apprentices is more cost effective than hiring skilled staff
  • Apprentices bring fresh, innovative and creative ideas into a business
  • 57% of employers report a high proportion of apprentices going on to management positions within the company
  • 66% of employers believe that their apprenticeship programme helps them fill vacancies more quickly
  • 77% of employers believe apprenticeships make them more competitive
  • 80% of employers report that apprenticeships reduce staff turnover
  • 51% said that those apprentices their organisation had taken on in the last five years had performed better than those who came in with a university degree

On top of this positive data, there are many more reasons to hire an apprentice:

You will widen your talent pool

According to the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) there are 22 applications for each apprenticeship vacancy

Employers set the course standards

Apprenticeship Trailblazer standards are set by employers. And there are over 600 standards that suit every sector and 1000's of job roles. As an employer, if you can't find the standard you need, you can create one with a group of employers within your sector.

You'll create a diverse workforce

Whether you lead a manufacturing company, professional services firm or a creative platform, attracting and retaining a diverse talent pool is a must for any forward-thinking business. 

In 2018 diversity was ranked a top priority. Research shows that 43%** of businesses with more diverse workforces have higher profits – and apprenticeships are the cornerstone to reaching that talent early.

Diversity isn't just about race and gender - age is also a key differentiator

Young people offer a fresh perspective, and older people offer experience

  • Apprentices are open to new ways of working and can be moulded to the needs of your business
  • Apprenticeships make it easy to hire people who understand your target audience and demographic
  • Apprentices can be any age; you can hire for attitude and train for skill
  • Two-thirds of English companies (66%) report that apprenticeships have enabled their organisation to bounce back from the economic fall-out of the pandemic more quickly


Companies can use apprenticeships to address their current skills gap to retain staff through development, proven to increase morale. Many employers are also using apprenticeship funding to un-tap millions in revenue generation.

Marks and Spencer have done so by launching their digital and data hub that includes hiring new apprentices and is open to all employees. The retailer sees data science supporting product design, buying and allocation, store operations, and customer interactions, including the Sparks loyalty programme. In addition, algorithms that produce tailored offers for its 13 million Sparks members are powered by data science.

Whilst M&S have its own in-house training hub, the opportunity for smaller employers to offer training is just as available by using apprenticeship training providers who are passionate about helping businesses develop new talent and skills through apprenticeship funding. Even better, most training providers provide one-to-one blended learning that is adaptable to your business needs.

If your company's pay-bill is less than £3m, you'll only pay 5% of the apprentice's training costs, and the Government will fund the rest. This can be very cost-effective for many firms; for example, if you hire a Level 3 Business Admin Apprentice, the training cap is £5000 you will only pay an employer contribution of 5% of that, which is £250. This is much cheaper than paying for expensive training courses in many cases.

The Open University commissioned PCP to survey over 600 businesses in England between 5th and 14th January 2021. The full report will be published as part of The Open University and The 5% Club webinar 'How apprenticeships can develop the future beyond the pandemic' on Thursday, 11 February. The panel will include learning and development experts from The Open University, Balfour Beatty, Salts Healthcare and Network Rail.

Hopefully, just like those organisations surveyed, you are convinced that apprenticeships are an excellent way to support, develop, and grow your business. If you wish to take the next steps in growing your business, get in touch with us.

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Populus Survey for National Apprenticeship Week, aat, Marketing Week, The Open University Business Barometer, 2020*, Fjord, D&I research, 2019**

08 Feb 2022