Apprentices more efficient than skilled workers

17 January 2014

With the massive increase in the price of university tuition fees following the UK budget reforms in 2013, more school leavers than ever before are looking to start their career with an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships offer people of all ages the chance to get essential training through work based learning with the support of approved training providers while earning a wage at the same time.

Figures published by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills in October 2013 show that over 850,000 were enrolled on an apprenticeship during 2012/13. That is 370,000 more than the same period in 2009/10.

850,000 young people were enrolled onto an apprenticeship during 2012/13Not only is this great news for the UK’s slowly recovering economy, but it also means it is the ideal time for employers to get involved in apprenticeship schemes. Apprenticeships offer employers a more cost effective way of building their workforce, whilst also helping them to establish and nurture a workforce which will become the skilled workers their businesses are built upon. 

The number of businesses offering apprenticeship positions is growing too, with over 130,000 UK businesses now involved with frameworks from approved providers. Recruiting apprentices over skilled workers allows employers to fill any gaps they may have in the skills of their workforce. This is because apprentices learn the essential sector specific skills from their first day through to their last, developing these specialist skills that have a positive impact on the everyday running of the company.

While for some the idea of taking on apprentices is a prospect which instils an air of uncertainty, according to figures published by Skills Training UK, 59% of employers would look at hiring apprentices over skilled staff. Across all industries, apprenticeships have shown to be more cost effective than hiring workers who already posses the necessary skills.

77% of employers believe that apprentices make their company more competitive59% of enterprises involved in apprenticeship programmes report that spending 12 months training a new apprentice reduced long term training costs and 53% believe that they also have a positive effect on lowering the cost of recruitment. A third of these businesses also believe that apprentices become a valuable member of the team and have a positive effect of the business within a few weeks of joining the workforce. In fact 77% of employers believe that apprentices actually make their company more competitive.

Many companies which are now offering apprenticeships through approved providers like the Institute of Swimming Training (IoS Training) have reported that hiring apprentices provide a higher overall productivity, a decrease in staff turnover and lead to a happier and more motivated workforce as a whole. The IoS recruited 319 apprentices over 2012/13 and reduced the amount of cancelled courses by 22%.

The IoS lead the field in apprenticeship training, offering frameworks which are specifically designed for the leisure industry. The Coaching Learn to Swim framework is a comprehensive training programme in which apprentices are trained to fill the skill gaps within a pool operator or leisure centre’s workforce. The Coaching Learn to Swim framework is employer led, teaching Coaching Learn to Swim, Employment Awareness in Leisure and Learning, Teaching Aquatics and Literacy and Numeracy Level 1. This framework ensures all apprentices have the necessary skills and knowledge required to work productively in the leisure industry.

The other frameworks on offer cover all aspects of a business in the leisure industry. These frameworks include:

Intermediate Apprenticeships (L2)

  • Coaching Learn to Swim
  • Instructing Exercise & Fitness
  • Activity Leadership
  • Active Leisure, Learning and Well-being Operational Services
  • Business Administration
  • Customer Service

Advanced Apprenticeships (L3)

  • Customer Services
  • Business Administration
  • Advanced Fitness
  • Leisure Management

While some companies feel they do not have the budget to begin recruiting new apprentices, institutes like IoS Training can help businesses to source full government funding for school leavers between the ages of 16-18, and part funding for those young people aged 19 and above.

Apprentices are paid a minimum wage of £2.68, working on average 30 hours a week. Many employers find that apprentices are a lot more motivated when they are recognised for their achievements.  When an apprentice reaches a particular milestone, e.g. achieving a Level 1 teaching qualification in a particular technical element, paying them the Level 1Teaching rate over their usual pay grade while they are assisting a Level 2 coach helps to keep the apprentice striving to achieve more.

L2 apprenticeship frameworks usually run over a period of 12 months and L3 apprenticeship frameworks for 18-24 months, with shorter six month apprenticeship courses being dropped to focus on high quality, on the job training. For small enterprises that don’t have the means to recruit new staff, the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) offer grants to support companies who are looking to grow.

To see what an apprentice could do for your business visit the IoS The Apprenticeship Grant or Employer Incentive offered by NAS targets small businesses with less than 1000 employees who have not taken on a new apprentice for 12 months. This incentive is one of the key benefits for small companies and is available until 31st December 2014, so now is the time for start-up companies and small enterprises to get involved while the funding is still available.

The IoS is England’s largest provider of apprenticeships and training for swimming and other aquatic activities. It was appointed a Centre of Excellence by government; working with employers to deliver the essential training and qualifications needed to produce a high quality workforce.

Their apprenticeships are designed with both employers and apprentices in mind, with a wide variety of frameworks on offer and more to come early in 2014. Both intermediate and advanced courses covering a variety of subjects including Coaching Learn to Swim, Customer Service, Activity Leadership and Instructing Fitness and Exercise allows training to cover all aspects of the swimming and fitness industry.

Apprenticeships with the IoS have a number of key advantages over courses which are offered by other approved providers. They offer courses which help to support the employers, offering advertising, recruitment guidance and support, and a dedicated recruitment officer. The IoS have an unlimited number of places and also hold a database of potential apprentices to match with suitable employers across the country.

Although apprenticeships do offer the foundations for a career in an individual’s chosen field and the potential to continue onto more senior roles through advancement opportunities, they also give employers in the respective industries a chance to work with enthusiastic and driven individuals who rapidly make a big impact on a business’s bottom line.

Contact the IoS Apprenticeship Team

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