Top Tips for Recruiting An Apprentice

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Are you looking to hire an apprentice? We’ve created a helpful guide on what to do, and more importantly, what to avoid during the recruitment process to help you as you start your journey with apprenticeships.

How to Hire an Apprentice: Quick Checklist

What are the essential things to know before starting your apprenticeship recruitment process? Here’s our top 5 key points to focus on:

1. Research Training Providers

There are apprenticeships in all kinds of sectors, from IT to landscaping and beyond. Some training providers offer a wide range of programmes, while others choose to specialise in a specific sector. Your training provider will play a vital role in the success of your company’s apprenticeship scheme, so do your research and find a provider who delivers the programme you need, in a way that aligns with your organisation.

2. Be Detailed In Your Job Description

Just like any other member of staff, your apprentice will be employed to do a job within your company, so treat the recruitment process just like any other, and fully describe the role you’re looking to fill. Many training providers will create your job advert for you, but working out the details before you get to this stage will help ensure you get candidates with the right interests applying for your training opportunity.

3. Look for Passion and Enthusiasm

What a candidate may lack in workplace experience and qualifications, they should make up for in enthusiasm and a positive attitude. Use your interview time to identify whether their personality and attitude will work well within your business and the rest will follow.

4. Understand Your Apprentice’s Rights

When you take on an apprentice, they become your employee and are entitled to the same rights as any member of staff. They are entitled to receive a regular wage, holidays, fair hours, and breaks. The national minimum wage for apprentices is currently £6.40 per hour (as of April 2024), however we recommend paying apprentices a living wage to get the most of out of your investment in skills.

5. Explore Apprenticeship Funding Opportunities

There are several sources of apprenticeship funding, including government co-investment, regional funding schemes, and apprenticeship levy transfers. Depending on the size of your business, you could receive support for up to 100% of your apprenticeship training costs. Currently, employers who take on an apprentice aged 16-18 can also claim £1000 as an apprenticeship hiring incentive.

Related Content: How to Employ an Apprentice – The Complete Guide

Things To Avoid When Hiring an Apprentice:

Although the end goal may be for your new apprentice to blend in seamlessly with your workforce, there are a few differences to bear in mind throughout the hiring process. Even the most seasoned hiring managers can sometimes forget to make these essential adjustments when looking for an apprentice:

1. Don’t Overvalue Experience and Qualifications

Yes, your apprentice will be another employee, but unlike other staff, they may have little to no experience in the workplace and just the qualifications achieved at school. Allowances for this must be made and you must remember this experience and those qualifications are why they want to start their work journey with you!

2. Don’t Rely on Traditional Interviews

Interviews are scary places, especially for a prospective apprentice who may have never been formally interviewed before. To get the best from each candidate, you’ll need to take a flexible approach, using your interview questions to guide candidates to successful answers. Encourage candidates to expand on their answers and follow up on points of interest with background information. This can help candidates get a feel for your organisation and see how their role fits into the bigger picture.

3. Don’t Settle on the First Candidate You See (Unless They Are Fantastic Of Course!)

The interview process is your opportunity to really find out about the candidates, so take full advantage and see as many as possible. Your training provider will often manage the recruitment process and only put candidates forward who they think will fit the job description. They will pre-screen each candidate to ensure you see the best of the bunch so make sure you see them all!

4. Don’t Leave Them To “Just Get On With It”

While finding the right candidate is often the hardest part of the process, your role as an apprentice’s manager and mentor begins when they sign on the dotted line. Every apprentice should have a workplace mentor to guide and support them through their apprenticeship. This is someone who can manage the apprentice, delegate tasks, share their knowledge and give guidance on the practical side of their apprenticeship.