The Government has introduced an apprenticeship levy for large companies. They’ll need to spend 0.5 per cent of payroll on apprentices to try and get the UK operating more like Germany in developing young talent.
Smaller companies are exempt, but you’ll still find some of the best schemes in these firms, such as Blue Array, a search engine optimisation (SEO) business that is putting apprentices at the top of its development strategy.
“About half of our team of 11 are apprentices,” says founder Simon Schnieders. “Our first apprentice is now our Technical Manager.”
He says it’s enjoyable being involved with apprenticeship schemes, and he loves the mentoring aspect. “I want to help and nurture young people, and give them a trade.”
There’s also the question of competency. “If I hired someone experienced, I would have to spend time untraining them,” says Simon.
And what if they leave at the end of their apprenticeships? He’s happy with that, he says.
“I don’t mind. They might go and do a degree, and work for me part-time. You should encourage talent.”