The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Friday Guest Blog: Making Apprenticeships work for you

by Heather Green, Greater Manchester Chamber

Millions of us were glued to our screens on Sunday when Sir Alan Sugar appointed his Apprentice for 2009. Well now we’ve begun our own search… for local businesses who can follow that example.

The Chamber’s Apprenticeships campaign will encourage businesses of all shapes and sizes across Greater Manchester to consider the advantages of taking an apprentice on – and unlike Sir Alan, who has to go through a 12-week screening process, our recruitment team are able to do most of the legwork for local firms to ensure they find the perfect match.

Apprenticeships have long been a rewarding and cost-effective way for businesses to source the skills they need for now and the future. So what are the reasons employers find apprenticeships such a great fit in terms of recruitment, training and productivity? I’ve listed a few below:

Relevant training
Apprenticeships are designed by industry specialists who understand your business needs. The beauty of on the job training also means that you can provide your workforce with skills directly relevant to your company, your working habits and your standards.

Avoid skills shortages
By taking on an apprentice you have a real opportunity to address any skills gaps you may have in your company. Whatever sector you may be in, there is always pressure to keep pace with new advances – apprenticeships allow you to do this through a combination of on and off the job training. A mentor works with the employer to follow the apprentice’s progress and ensure you’re both getting the best out of the arrangement.

As your business expands, you get to take on an extra worker that you can start out on a lower rate of pay, but is eager to learn and progress as quickly as they can. Many businesses believe that apprenticeships also lead to lower overall training costs.

Plan for succession
Apprenticeships mean you can train someone who, down the line, you will be able to rely on to do very productive work according to your standards and who can progress within your company.

Fill vacancies quickly and easily
By coming to Greater Manchester Chamber to fill your vacancy you can massively speed up the process and also reduce the usual recruitment costs.

We’ve been looking at some ways to improve the flexibility of apprenticeships for employers because at the moment, not every business may want to commit over a long period. Some businesses may have specific projects or temporary placements they’d like to recruit for and where possible, we’d like to help with this. There’s more on this to come.

In many ways an apprentice can be even more valuable to an employer during tough times. They offer a cost effective way of investing in your firm’s future by ensuring you have the necessary skills. They also ensure our local firms are equipped for dealing with the challenges ahead and are best-placed to profit when the upturn starts.

Any employer wanting to find out more information about taking on an apprentice and the advice and help available should call 0161 233 2656 or email: for more information.

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