Why apprentices could help your business grow

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I’m not someone to harp on about the recession but... the debates rage on - should there be better terms for employers to recruit staff with less commitment? Would that in turn make workers feel less secure and be less likely to spend what they earn? Would this then slow spending further therefore compounding the problems the new policies would be designed to solve?

The UK does appear to be finding it incredibly difficult to shake this recession. And, like in the new Avengers movie (minus the wardrobe) the call has gone out to private businesses of the UK to trade us out of poverty. Nothing new there then.

So, in David Cameron’s head the ideal scenario is for you business owners to pick up your tools and work extra hard so your taxes can be used to fill the deficit - in turn the jobs you create will relieve the burden on the benefits system and we will start to see light at the end of the tunnel. So far so obvious.

As a contingency the Olympics are winking at us all like a massive fruit machine in the corner of the room, mesmerising us with its lights and convincing us all its about to pay out any minute - Just one more quid that’s all it’ll need and it’ll straighten us all out like the gamblers anonymous money chasers we are lead to believe we are. Common sense says this is not the most reliable strategy.

I don’t know about you but unless you aren’t looking for a loan or investment these days you won’t be offered one, so raising capital through the bank to start or grow your business is harder than sitting through the aforementioned avengers movie even if slightly more enjoyable. You start ups can probably forget venture capitalists in this climate as well. The ones I know of are getting hot under the collar in more than a few instances with all the ups and downs. And then all that are left are the sharks and they fill me with more dread than actual sharks.

So how do you go about answering the call, increasing output, building your team and your business and generally doing your bit for queen and country?

One way that has been around for years is to take on Apprentices.

You might have your own views or experience of acquiring young people under some scheme or other and they might be positive or not. All I can do is set out what I see are the advantages to helping a young person or people to achieve their goals whilst simultaneously achieving yours at a bargain basement price.

Firstly it’s not quite how it used to be. Once upon a time you would be called by a school or a jobcentre and you’d be asked if you would be interested in taking someone on and then (a short time later) someone would show up (or not). Sometimes that would work out, the person would be keen and you’d enjoy the extra pair of hands. Other times someone would show up and you’d have to remind them what their name was let alone get any work out of them. It was a good scheme with good intentions but about as hit and miss as the Greek tax system.

However, fast forward some years - to today in fact - and the platform has changed drastically. You now get to discuss YOUR requirements with a human, then design and place an advert for your role on a national jobs board. You decide the skills that you are looking for and the personality type and skill set - a lot like placing an advert on Total Jobs, Monster and the like. EXACTLY THE SAME AS A PREMIUM RATE RECRUITMENT AGENCY BUT 100% FREE.

Your vacancy is advertised on the web on a dedicated website and candidates answer qualifying questions and send their CV based on suitability for your vacancy. They are then fully vetted by us and successful candidates CV’s are sent to you for consideration. Interviews are arranged to suit you to help you make an informed, carefully considered selection.

Good so far? Better still your apprentice will work their socks off (the young are good at that) and they will complete a programme with you earning just £2.60 per hour - an astonishingly low downside risk. NO PAYE or NI.

Add to this the fact that they are fixed term workers (Currently 6 - 12 months) on a training programme and are in effect on a prolonged probationary period (your current employees don’t have these any more) and you start to realise that your business could be tapping into a huge (958,000 strong), cost effective talent pool just waiting for you to well, tap into it like a beautifully ripe passion fruit.

We have absolute respect and adoration for the young people willing and able to commit to this programme and we think that at the end of your experience with Apprentices so will you.

So, this poses the question. Is it businesses like yours, or the youth of today who have had the Avengers call from government or both? Do we trade or Train our way out of recession? We are convinced its both.

Paul Rees, Managing Director, WMC Training, Chatham

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