Home > Apprenticeships - An Overview

APPRENTICESHIPS

Apprentieships is the flagship government scheme for improving skills in the UK labour force and to prepare people for skilled employment. Based on research of employer preferences, the aim is to provide training in the workplace, as opposed to at a College or other off-site location. More importantly, the training is intended to reflect the needs of the organisation in addition to providing a general education for learners.

Due to the increasing costs of labour in the UK, it is vital that this expensive resource becomes more productive, otherwise jobs will continue to migrate to lower wage rate economies.

The relatively low skills base of UK workers, and the lack of staff with appropriate skills, is considered to be an impediment to achieving respectable macro-economic growth targets. As the UK economy remains sluggish, and sales revenues remain lacklustre, it is urgent that firms become more productive in addition to seeking cost reductions. Improving workforce skills will increase staff motivation and enhance competitiveness in both the UK and international marketplace.

BENEFITS TO THE EMPLOYER

1. It is well known that staff training improves morale and fosters commitment to the organisation and corporate goals. Many organisations will encourage staff to develop a plan for Continuous Personal Development (CPD). This will cover the skills they need to discharge their current tasks and also take account of the developing needs of the organisation. With appropriate encouragement, staff can improve their skills and expertise within the workplace by learning from colleagues. It is not essential to enroll staff on expensive external courses and conferences in order to develop skills.

2. Improving staff skills will directly improve the service given to customers and clients of the organisation. Customer service is now seen as a a key part of corporate strategy both in terms of dealing with initial enquiries, to the fulfillment of orders and providing a professional after sales service. Many employers overlook the fact that staff need tools and skills in order to deal effectively with customers.

3. Organisations need to do more with fewer human resources. Even for firms in the manufacturing sector, labour costs are a significant element in the overall cost of production. In the South of the UK, the service sector predominates and labour is now the main cost and the most crucial resource. It is therefore vital to train staff in the latest technology and encourage them to embrace multi-skilling and flexible working practices.

4. An Apprentice will perform a real job for an employer and make a significant daily contribution to the operation of a business. The training element is provided by ourselves and normally takes place in the workplace. This means that the employer does not need to release the Apprenticeship for a day each week in order to attend College.

5. Ricide offer Apprenticeships in ICT, and the use of computers is now widespread in all UK offices. An Apprentice would be expected to perform general office tasks and not just those which have a direct computer element.

EMPLOYER INCENTIVES

Apprentices should be paid a minimum wage of £2.65 per hour in the first year of their Apprenticeship. A Ricide Apprenticeship programme normally lasts for 13 months. It is usual for an Apprentice to work for at least 30 hours a week.

Apprentices can either be employees who are already working for an employer, or new recruits. In either case there is a government incentive of £1,500 for each Apprenticeship. There are several conditions -

a. No more than 10 payments of £1,500 will be made.
b. No payment will be made if an employer already has an Apprentice, who started in the last 12 months. After 12 months, a new Apprenticeship or up to 9 new Apprenticeships will attract the £1,500 each.
c. A commitment should be made to employ the Apprentice for a minimum of 12 months.

IMPORTANCE OF IT

Of all the advances in technology during the last 30 years, Information Technology has led the way in transforming working practices. In the early days of IT, computers were used as number crunching devices and performed tasks such as Payroll. With the advent of the personal computer, Word Processing revolutionised office practices and made both typists and typing pools redundant. Office Productivity Software, such as Spreadsheets, Databases and Presentation Graphics have provided powerful tools for staff to organise and store their work, share information with colleagues, and expand their workload. More recently, the facilities of the Internet and the low cost of broadband connection are transforming the way that organisations interact with customers and suppliers.

IT skills are becoming as fundamental for an employee as Literacy and Numeracy, and staff without these skills will be a burden on an employer.

 

Apprenticeships - An Overview

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