It’s National Apprenticeship Week (Monday 6th to Friday 10th February 2012) and if ever you wanted to find out more about modern apprenticeships this would be a good time.

You may have already seen news stories pushing and raising the profile of apprentices amongst employers, individuals, teachers, parents and the media, and there will be various events and activities taking place to boost this. So I thought I should help to de-mystify the concept of apprenticeships.

Think apprenticeships don’t apply to your business?

Think again… Check out this Types of Apprenticeships page on the official website from the Skills Funding Agency. Realistically, there’s very few types of job that couldn’t support an apprentice and therefore very few businesses that couldn’t benefit from the support of an apprentice.

Why should you consider taking on an apprentice?

Firstly don’t get baffled by the terminology. Basically an apprenticesip is a work-based training programmes designed around the needs of employers. Apprentices learn on the job and their commitment leads to national recognised qualifications. Over 100,000 employers in over 160,000 workplaces offer apprentice frameworks across a range of industry sectors.

Who can be an apprentice?

Pretty much anybody. You can use Apprenticeships to train both new and existing employees and there is funding is available to train apprentices from the National Apprenticeship Service. Depending on the sector and job role an Apprenticeship can take anything between one and four years to complete. It is a package of on-the-job training and qualifications suitable to your business. From April 2012, the Small Employer Incentive will also make it easier for small businesses take on apprentices.

Apprentices work – literally

In difficult economic times taking on apprentices may be the kickstart your business you need. Taking on somebody who wants to learn and improve themself who you can train in your methods, usually creates a very loyal worker. Official statistics suggest over 80% of those employers who employ apprentices agree they make their workplace more productive. 92% of employers who employ apprentices believe that Apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce. One in five employers are hiring more apprentices to help them through the tough economic climate.

So if you’ve neever thought of apprenticeships within your business, I suggest you don’t flick over the TV this week when they mention apprenticeships stay tuned and do some additional research too. You may be surprised at how easy taking on an apprentice may be and just how beneficial it could be for your business.

Have you taken on apprentices? What have your experiences been?