Apprenticeships: delivering work-based training and qualifications to employees
Business benefits of apprenticeships
The Department for the Economy (DfE) has made a number of financial support schemes available to Northern Ireland employers to retain existing apprentices and also recruit new apprentices.
Find out about the guidance and temporary measures for employers that DfE is making to its apprenticeship programmes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apprenticeships can help all types of businesses across a wide range of sectors harness fresh new talent. They can help equip your workforce with the practical skills and qualifications that your organisation needs now and in the future and you will enjoy the benefits of having a loyal and motivated workforce that you have trained to meet your own specific business requirements.
Many employers have reported that by employing apprentices they have seen growth and improvement in productivity in their business. As well as this, they feel a real sense of contributing to the skills needs of the Northern Ireland economy.
What are the benefits of employing an apprentice?
There are many benefits to you in employing an apprentice:
- for apprentices aged 16-24 the full costs of the directed (off-the-job) training element of the apprenticeship are funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy (DfE). Employees aged 25 and over can undertake apprenticeships in important economic sectors only and 50 per cent of their directed training costs are met by the ESF and DfE
- an Employer Incentive Payment is available to employers when their apprentice completes their Level 2 or Level 3 apprenticeship framework, ranging from £250 to £1,500 (depending on the complexity and level of the apprenticeship undertaken and the age of the apprentice on joining the programme) (note: the employer incentive does not apply to Higher Level Apprenticeships)
- the ESF and DfE funded training and reduced National Minimum Wage rate for apprentices means it is more cost effective to employ an apprentice rather than skilled staff, plus you can train them right from the start to use the tried and tested methods that work for your individual business
- you benefit from increased enthusiasm, motivation and loyalty as your apprentice has sought out this career path
- the mixture of on and off-the-job training means your apprentice benefits from experienced staff who know how your business works, while also developing new skills and the latest techniques from qualified trainers by developing your staff to their full potential you can realise increased productivity, improved competitiveness and a competent workforce
- apprentices can help fill skills gaps by developing the specialist skills that you require for your business and can help you and your business keep abreast of new technology
Sounds good in theory but does it work in real life?
Many Northern Ireland companies have successfully trained apprentices through the ApprenticeshipsNI and Higher Level Apprenticeship programmes and their businesses have reaped the benefits. Read their stories at:
Advertise apprenticeship opportunities online
Now you appreciate the benefits apprenticeships can bring to your business, why not advertise your first apprentice vacancy online? Connect to Success NI is a free online portal developed by the Department for the Economy that enables employers to promote and advertise apprenticeship and school work experience opportunities.
More useful links
Apprenticeships Helpline0300 200 7820