How to hire an apprentice

As part of our series of blogs about National Apprenticeship Week we want to talk about how you go about hiring an apprentice.

Recently the government has announced a whole stack of new apprentice schemes. This has created a lot of commercial reasons for dipping your toe into the water to try recruiting an apprentice. After all, they can they be free for the first 6 months and the government will even pay towards your overheads! A Google search of “government apprentice scheme” will show you some options.

To hire however you will need to go through an apprenticeship college or agency, there are several in the UK, head to a to learn more.

However, for many of us hiring an apprentice presents a fresh challenge. Most of the candidates won’t have any work experience or indeed any experience of life. As one guy running an electrical business told me, an apprentice he employed wanted to leave after two days. That’s because he had already earnt enough to buy something he fancied.

So here are a few tips to consider in order to recruit the right candidate:

  • Have they had any part time or summer jobs? It may not seem like much, but if they have gone back to the same employer two seasons running it means that they were a good employee. If they stuck with one employer for two years or more it means they are loyal – two years is an age when you’re a teenager.
  • What do they enjoy doing and what are their hobbies? This will give you some hints about them.
  • Ask them how they handle money. Again, this will give you clues as to their character and skills.
  • How smart are they? Depending on your job, you may want them not too smart, but other roles need real intelligence. Remember, plenty of bright people didn’t do that well at school.

Finally, ask them to work free for a day. This will tell you what they are actually like on the job. It also gives you a chance to see how they get on with the team. If they say no, they weren’t that keen anyway.

Hiring an apprentice isn’t cost free, you will definitely need to closely manage and train them. But the results can be both good for them and great for you.

All of the best. I hope some of the tips here prove helpful.

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