In April 2021, Minister for Further and Higher Education launched the Apprenticeships Action Plan. The programme is a five-year plan aimed to deliver 10,000 new apprentice registrations per year by 2025.
Some builders and trade professionals can easily appreciate the benefits of taking on an apprentice, especially if qualifications and work experience was gained through their own apprenticeship experience.
However, some potential employers may not fully understand or realise how an apprenticeship works, the available financial supports and how it can benefit their business.
To help explain how apprenticeships can be great for both employer and employee, we have put together this post highlighting the benefits of taking on an apprentice and how it will help your business.
The Benefits of an Apprenticeship Programme
As markets and processes evolve across the building industry, customers are demanding certifications, accreditations and training as a condition when seeking to hire skilled and qualified workers.
To ensure your business remains competitive, a skilled and qualified workforce can either be accomplished by training or buying in skills to suit the accreditation and qualified-obsessed industry.
Businesses who have workers who started with apprentice training rather than just labouring, means they also have employees with onsite experience as well as the latest theory to back it up.
For example, apprenticeship training is constantly evolving to train new craftspeople in emerging forms of energy generation and construction techniques.
Many of the qualifications and training courses developed via EGFSN, SOLAS, SLMRU AND Regional Skills Fora are designed with the help of employers and the industry too, so you can count on an apprentice developing skills and knowledge needed in your workplace.
In a nutshell, employing apprentices and having fully trained staff can help your business grow and meet the demanding challenges ahead in the world of the ever-evolving construction industry.
The Benefits When Hiring An Apprentice
- Employees tend to feel more appreciated, which contributes to higher productivity, enthusiasm and retention.
- New skills and expertise in various construction and trade fields, will keep your business competitive when tendering for new jobs.
- Apprentices become workers that you know and trust, who can fill skills shortages and gaps.
- Apprentices can help to reduced absenteeism and improve onsite health and safety
- Employers who take on apprentices, gain a reputation as an employer in training and growth with future hires.
- Teamwork and results improve as employees pass on to co-workers’ expertise and experience.
- Improves and can help change the culture of a business
- Enables quick adoption and awareness of new laws and legislation
- Employees are more capable of knowing about and using emerging technologies.
- Able to meet quality standards
However, there is sometimes an assumption made amongst employers, that once an apprentice has finished their training they will quickly move on and it’s not worth the investment.
However employers need to recognised is that the benefits are significantly greater for a business when workers are professionally trained. Plus, once trained, apprentices are more likely to stay with you, especially if their experience has been a good one.
Top 8 Tips for Trade Pros when Considering an Apprentice
1.Choose a trade apprentice that is a fit for your business
To discover the different apprenticeships which are available, visit the construction section of the Generation Apprentice website. If there are any skills that your company lacks or new skills that your company might profit from – you’ll find them here.
2.Become an approved employer
Before registering an apprentice employers must be approved by SOLAS. You can also contact your local Services to Business Office based in your local Training Centre for more information on registration and the Generation Apprenticeship website.
Employers who are approved by SOLAS to employ apprentices are able to register an expression of interest and complete the process online via apprenticeshipjobs.ie
3.Advertising an apprenticeship vacancy
The Apprenticeship Jobs Portal is available at www.apprenticeship.ie and is a free service, but also be sure to use social media and your website to also advertise the vacancy to attract potential candidates.
Onlinetradesmen 'Jobs Board' can also help you find the right person or people for the job. Through your membership account, you can simply post the details of a contract/full-time/one-off role for thousands of qualified trade pro's to view and reply to online as well as post apprenticeship job vacancies.
4.Create a list of interview questions
Be prepared with a list of interview questions before meeting with your potential apprentice. Think about what you want to learn from the interview and the type of person are you looking to hire.
The right interview questions will help uncover what they know about your industry and what basic knowledge they already have. Also include a question about what they hope to achieve during their apprenticeship with your business, which will tell you something about their long-term and short-term goals.
5.Have a trial shift before making a final decision
A craft apprenticeship will generally last for 4 years, so a week or more trial period before the candidate starts will help determine if a candidate is a good fit for your business and will tell you how they work before you commit to their employment.
However, before the trial commences make sure the candidate understands the conditions of the trial and you have appropriate agreements in place.
6.Register your apprentice
Once an apprentice has been employed, you must register them as an apprentice with SOLAS. This is done via an apprenticeship advisor in your local Education and Training Board (ETB). For contact details of your local ETB click here.
7.Support & Mentoring
Your apprentice will benefit through feedback, praise, guidance and encouragement. Your skills in performance appraisal and critical feedback will be tested and it’s important to avoid the negative feedback sandwiched neatly between two positive points.
Always take time to explain areas for improvement so that they understand what standards are expected of them so they can make adjustments.
8.Supports for employers
An apprenticeship provider will be able to help you get your apprentice sorted and will give you full support throughout the apprenticeship.
A new incentive scheme offers apprenticeship employers a €3,000 payment for each new apprentice who is registered between the period 01 March and 30 June 2021. €2,000 per apprentice is payable at the point of registration. A further €1,000 is payable in Quarter 3 2021 for each eligible apprentice retained on their apprenticeship. Employers can read more about how to apply for the apprenticeship incentivisation scheme.