How to embrace apprentices in your business

Learning and development manager of the Builders' Merchant Federation Kerry Wilson offers advice to KBB retailers on how to embrace apprentices in your business 

27 Sep, 23

Learning and development manager of the Builders’ Merchant Federation Kerry Wilson offers advice to KBB retailers on how to embrace apprentices in your business 

I often have discussions around finding the right candidate, the weighted stigma around apprenticeships being for 16–19-year-olds and how best to support an apprentice when they are in the business.

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Start your talent succession pipeline through apprenticeships as the route into the industry.  

When we consider students preparing for work experience open your doors, give them a buddy and allow them to start to understand what you do.

When they are due their next work experience, usually in their last year of schooling, invite them back, offer them regular Saturday or holiday work, as this will open them up to your business and get them thinking about the career journey they can embark on with you.

Give them the opportunity of an apprenticeship upon leaving school.  

Apprenticeships for all

However, it’s really important to highlight, that there is no age limit for someone starting an apprenticeship.

Apprentices are learn and earn opportunities for people to develop new skills, knowledge and behaviours.

Therefore if an individual is looking to change career, move into a new job role or change companies, an apprenticeship could be the right choice for them to build the new skills required or those roles.

During an apprenticeship they will have protected learning time and coaching to support their journey, as a business we should be able to put the measures in place to also support the journey.   

Use available funding

With millions of pounds every year of unspent apprenticeship levy we need to do more. 

I can guarantee there is a programme to support the development of new colleagues or to upskills your existing workforce. 

Let’s start with a showroom, sales person, manager, designer, you guessed it there are apprenticeship opportunities for each of them; Level 4 sales professional, level 3 fitted furniture design technician, level 3 team leader, level 5 operational / departmental manager to name a few.   

Consider ‘growing’ your own installer, with the ‘fitted interiors’ apprenticeship, an opportunity to develop someone and grow your own business.  

With over 500 Apprenticeship standards listed on Ifate – institute of apprenticeships – there are many to choose from.  

Understanding apprenticeship funding can feeling a bit complex or confusing, but the key thing to remember apprenticeships are available for everyone.

If your annual wage bill exceeds £3 million pounds you will already be paying into the levy, 0.5% of your wage bill, use this to train apprentices.

If the wage bill is under £3million you will have access to claim up to 95% of funding.