Running a small business is challenging at the best of times and, with tight budgets, it can be difficult to invest in training. But many small businesses don’t realise that they can benefit from training which is completely or 95% funded by the government, as well as additional grants and incentives.
What funded training is available?
For businesses with less than 50 employees, apprenticeship training is 100% funded for 16-18 year old apprentices and 95% funded for apprentices aged 19+.
Apprentices are not just about trades like plumbing and hairdressing and they are not just about employing a young person. Apprenticeship training is available for virtually any job role in any sector and it can be used for new recruits, as well as to train existing members of staff of any age.
There are currently 586 apprenticeship standards approved for delivery from level 2 up to level 8 in the following areas:
- Agriculture, environment and animal care
- Business and administration
- Care service
- Catering and hospitality
- Creative and design
- Education and childcare
- Engineering and manufacturing
- Hair and beauty
- Health and science
- Legal, finance and accounting
- Protective services
- Sales, marketing and procurement
- Transport and logistics
Are there additional incentives?
The government is also offering companies grants or incentives for recruiting new apprentices. These are £2,000 for apprentices aged 16-24 and £1,5000 for apprentices aged 25+. These grants are available until 31 January 2021 and can be used to pay the apprentice’s salary or any sort of wider business needs. They are in addition to the pre-existing grant of £1,000 for employing a 16-18 year old apprentice.
From 2016, it has also been the case that businesses do not have to pay National Insurance contributions for apprentices aged up to 25 years old.
How do apprenticeships work for small businesses?
Apprenticeship training has many advantages over other types of courses, beyond the financial advantages. For example, if you send your employee on a short course, it won’t have been tailored to their specific job role and your small business. Apprenticeship standards were created by employers, not academics. They are adaptable and flexible, with the potential for aspects of the training to be tailored to different industries and individuals. This makes apprenticeship training more beneficial and relevant than most other courses and training options.
Secondly, employees won’t always apply things they’ve learned on a course in their job role. This could be because the training wasn’t relevant, they don’t understand how to apply it or various other reasons. Apprenticeships are not just about building up the individual’s skills, knowledge and behaviours; they are also about ensuring that these are being effectively applied in the workplace.
Thirdly, short courses usually focus exclusively on knowledge or skills. For example, an administration course may provide business knowledge e.g. stakeholders and policies, and/or business skills e.g. planning and communication. But it probably won’t involve developing the individual’s behaviours e.g. adaptability and responsibility. This isn’t the case in apprenticeship training – which covers the knowledge, skills and behaviours which would be required to be effective in the role. This more holistic approach to developing the individual maximises the impact they are going to have on your small business.
Where do I start?
If you’re not sure if or how apprenticeship training could work for your small business, give us a call or drop us an email and we can talk it through with you. We’ve worked with thousands of small businesses across England over the last 40 years and can provide you with expert advice on how you can benefit from this cost-effective training solution.