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Can Apprenticeships deliver value from day one?

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I’m sure you’ve heard it all before – “the apprentice couldn’t even make a cup of coffee”! So how do you measure the value of your employee, salary, perks, holidays, bonuses, and can an apprentice really deliver value from day one?

If you’re an employer, and you’re wondering what the benefit of taking on a ‘wet behind the ears’ teenager is, then please read on…

There are numerous benefits and obvious pitfalls! Let’s talk about the pitfalls first. Yes, they will cost you time, effort and a few broken bits of kit, way more than an “experienced” employee. You will have to recruit the right one and that can be a pain! You wonder what if they can’t get to work because they live miles away and need to take 3 busses and a 15 minute walk to get to your place? You have the worry of whether they will turn up after day 1, and you will have to go through the whole process of recruitment again, or worse, not even bother. Then when they come on board, they speak like a text message, use grunts and shoulder shrugging to communicate, don’t know how to operate a kettle (cries of “I don’t drink hot drinks!”) or put the right mixture of hot water, milk and sugar in a cup. Then you have to monitor what they do on a daily basis because you don’t trust them to do the job or speak to the customer as you would like. But you know what, I know experienced and qualified people who meet that description.

But I see the benefits far outweigh these petty pitfalls. What you get in return, is a mini version of your ideal employee, that grows everyday. You nurture and feed their curiosity, teach them the ways of your business and they will be loyal. Give them an incentive, responsibility and they will love it. They end up being your most productive and loyal employees. And to boot, they see your processes and procedures in a new light, they have fresh ideas, they put your experienced, dyed in the wool employees to shame with their productivity and eagerness. Ok they are not all like that, as with anyone, some present well, but when it comes to it, they are just not up to the task. Also you need to remember they have a lot on their plate from day 1, maybe first job, new level of learning, assessors, tutors, supervisors, managing directors, HR, paperwork and they haven’t been paid yet so can’t afford to get to work! They need attention and guidance and understanding.

Fast forward 1 year and you will wonder how you ever did without him/her, why did you not take on more apprentices? Cut them in half and they will have your company logo running through them like the words on a stick of rock. So back to my original question, do they deliver value from day one, yes of course!

Scott Margison

Managing Director