Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

You're Fired! No! You're Hired!

03 December 2014

Could your business take on an apprentice?  It’s a question that is being asked more and more often - and not just by the judges on the famous TV show.

It used to be the right of passage for any self respecting teenager heading into the workplace.  Now, the concept of apprenticeships are being revamped, rehabilitated and revitalised for the twenty-first century.  From the Modern Apprenticeships of the last two decades, to the Thoroughly Modern Apprenticeships of the next two decades.

Opportunities these days are few and far between for becoming time-served in a traditional factory, workshop, or big corporation.   These days, with much more of the country’s economic growth coming from smaller enterprises, there’s less budget available for taking on enthusiastic but inexperienced help.  Training and mentoring budgets are being slashed everywhere.

Fortunately, that’s where the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) comes to the rescue.  This UK government backed scheme provides a cash grant to help employers fund apprenticeship schemes for young workers.   There are different categories, and different levels of support, but there is a pot of several hundreds of millions of pounds, and much of it is channelled into helping companies with smaller workforces.  The AGE scheme has already helped part fund nearly 100,000 apprenticeships, in everything from traditional industry to marketing. 

Is an apprenticeship like the TV show?  Well, in our experience, reality isn’t quite like reality television.  None of us, or our clients, believes that any of the apprentices we know behave and act like those on TV! (which is just as well!!)

We do know of some quite mature apprentices, who behave much more realistically, and who’ve found their way back into the workplace after an extended break.Usually associated with parents who’ve been out of the job market for a while, the “returnship” is growing in popularity, where companies seek to grow their workforce by bringing in mature professionals, and reskilling them. 

So, if you know your way around the work place, but the last time you hit the shop floor was when a blackberry was a snack at lunchtime, a returnship could be for you. 

Most of the returnship material we’ve found is aimed at mothers heading back into the workplace, but we’ve also found something for all mature workers, regardless of parental duties.  This is PRIME - the Prince's Initiative for Mature Enterprise.  Prince Charles, who’s been an apprentice monarch for a while now, launched the scheme a few years ago.  It’s much less Apprentice and more Dragon’s Den, but without the fire breathing tyrants on the other side of the desk.  PRIME is a network of help and advice, designed to encourage the over 50s to start their own businesses. 

If you’re in your prime, PRIME could be for you and, with all that experience behind you, it’s not going to be long before you’ll be looking for an apprentice or two of your own.  Which is rather where we came in, isn’t it?

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springfords blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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