Six benefits of an apprenticeship for a small business

Blogs 18 Aug 2022

Taking on new talent can give your business a boost. Learn more about the benefits of apprenticeships and the value of developing new skills.

This article was updated in May 2024. 

Apprenticeships create a win-win situation for everyone. Apprentices get the opportunity to learn skills on the job, gain nationally-recognised qualifications and earn a salary. As a small business, you benefit from a talent pool of enthusiastic individuals who can become valuable members of the working team.

Here are six benefits of hiring an apprentice as a small business. 

1. Develop new skills

As a business owner, you know what skills your team needs to support and grow your business. If you’ve spotted skill gaps or areas of potential, you can use an apprenticeship scheme to train up new employees in these areas from day one.

There are currently over 800 apprenticeship standards to choose from (i.e. the job role that the apprentice will be training for), so you’ll be able to find one that fits your business aims and objectives.

2. Save on costs

Hiring an apprentice is a cost-effective way to support the development of new skills and talent in your business, with many employers able to access funding and grants to cover the costs. The ‘apprentice rate’ is lower than other rates, but paid only in the first year. Apprenticeships should last at least 12 months.

There is a £1,000 payment available to employers for apprentices who, at the start of their apprenticeship, are:

Depending on your business size and eligibility, most apprenticeship training costs are either fully or partially (95%) funded by the government, helping you to upskill your team on a budget.

You can read our guide to apprenticeship funding to learn more.

3. Boost productivity

Apprentice outputs usually surpass their associated costs to the employer, delivering a net benefit to employers during their training, with the estimated yearly gain for employers in the UK being between £2,500 and £18,000 per apprentice during their training period. Apprentices are eager to learn from you and your team and enthusiastic about the qualification they’ve chosen.

Supporting their growth in turn supports your business, and you get an extra pair of hands to help out when it gets busy! Your apprentice will learn from your experienced team and will be able to apply the valuable skills they’ve gained through their training.

4. Promote loyalty

Starting as an apprentice is a great way for those with less experience in the industry to get their foot in the door.

If there’s an opportunity, many apprentices at their company after earning their qualification, become fully-fledged team members! In fact, data from the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) website shows that 90% of apprentices stay at their company after completing their course. Plus, there’s the added bonus of them already being familiar with your business.

5. Diversify your team

An apprentice can bring new perspectives to your business, especially if they are younger and familiar with new technologies; or if they are older and have a wealth of relevant skills and experience to offer.

Whether they’re a school leaver or someone looking to change their career path, it’s a fantastic way to add new talent to your team.

With an apprenticeship scheme, you can expand your business with new skills and training opportunities. It’s a cost-effective way for you to bring extra resources into your business and provide training opportunities to your local community.

6. Tailored to you

Apprenticeships have come a long way in recent years! These days, there is a wide range of apprenticeships your business can take advantage of, from finance and digital marketing to manufacturing and software engineering.

Training someone up from a beginner means you’ll be able to shape them to fit your business. You’ll be able to choose a provider and apprenticeship standard that best meets your business needs.

Where can I get more information?

Whether you’re looking to expand a department or you could use some additional support, you can find an apprenticeship online to see what’s on offer.

Visit the Apprenticeships employer hub for more information about hiring an apprentice or learn more on the government’s website.

Ready to hire an apprentice?

It’s important to remember that when hiring an apprentice, employers must use the correct apprenticeship agreement, rather than using a standard contract of employment.  Get answers to your employment questions 24/7 with our employment advice line. FSB members can also visit the FSB Legal and Business Hub, to access template apprenticeship contracts, as well as other employment and business documents, letters, templates and fact sheets for your business needs.

HR advice you can trust

FSB Employment Protection is your go-to for HR advice, available 24/7. Speak to employment solicitors for advice, download template documents and have peace of mind with employment tribunal insurance.

find out more