An inside look at an apprenticeship scheme image

An inside look at an apprenticeship scheme

There are lots of benefits to apprenticeships for both the young person and the company. We caught up with Steve Pinchen, who has previously managed an award-winning apprenticeship scheme, to find out about his experience and to get his top tips.

Getting an apprenticeship scheme started

If you’re thinking about whether an apprenticeship scheme is a good choice for your business then simply contact your local college. The ideal time to start this conversation is early summer so you’re scheme is ready to run from the new academic year in September. There is also an apprenticeship intake in January too so don’t worry, if you’re reading this in early Autumn then you’ve still have a window of opportunity.

Steve said: “Your local college is your best bet to start because they can advise you on everything related to apprenticeships including what funding is available from the government as well as helping you set the selection criteria to ensure the functional skills* are ticked off.”

“It’s important that the college understands your business to ensure the modules complement the jobs in question. I’d advise businesses to regularly meet with a dedicated contact (normally the assessor) at the college, who may be seen as someone who serves as a mentor or in a pastoral capacity by the apprentices.”

When it comes to attracting young people to the apprenticeship opportunities you have to offer, the college will help you promote this but you can help by providing applicants with a clear career path outlined in the opportunity you’re promoting.

Steve said: “You have to differentiate yourself from the competition and appeal to young people by showing them that the company will be investing in their future.”

Apprenticeships are not just for engineers

There’s a much wider choice for apprenticeship jobs now the government has changed the levels available.

Did you know you can even get a degree whilst doing an apprenticeship?

Steve said: “There’s a misconception that apprenticeships are just available in the engineering and construction industries but this is not true anymore. There are hundreds of apprenticeship opportunities in a wide range of roles and industries.”

Business admin and customer services roles can be covered by apprenticeship positions too.

The travel company, TUI Group, recently announced they will be creating 2,000 apprenticeship roles by 2020 which will include aircraft engineers, digital and IT specialist roles.

Apprenticeships allow you to bring young people into the business with the right attitudes and behaviours whilst they gain the qualifications needed and get on the job experience too.

The benefits of an apprenticeship scheme

What an apprenticeship can offer a young person…

We already know that they’ll gain a qualification and on the job experience. But there’s more to it than just that.

Steve said: “Some young people don’t want to continue with classroom based learning so an apprenticeship takes away the negative connotations of learning in this way. They hardly notice that they’re still in a formal learning programme but yet they still reap the benefits of gaining a qualification and skills for life.

“Some young people are weighing up university versus work life. An apprenticeship can offer them the best of both worlds. It’s a cliché but they will earn while they learn and the progression is invaluable to their CVs.”

An apprentice can build up the levels they qualify for and this can be tied into the rate of pay and jobs they undertake in the business. For instance, you can start an apprentice as a customer service assistant and they can progress from NVQ level 2, 3 and 4 to become a fully qualified customer service professional.

What an apprenticeship scheme can offer your business…

We’ve talked about the benefits of attracting young people to your business in a previous blog and Steve echoed some of those benefits here too.

“My experience has proven that young people are more likely to be loyal employees who are engaged in the business.

“If your company is not yet employing young people then they’re missing a trick. It’s very easy with no additional burden on the business. The end result is that you get eager, loyal and qualified employees.”

According to a recent government article, the productivity gains from employing an apprentice long-term average at £214 per week, ranging from £83 in the retail sector and £114 in health, public services and care, up to £401 in construction and planning, and £414 per in engineering and manufacturing.

Get an apprenticeship scheme running in your business

Have Steve’s words inspired you to investigate into apprenticeships for your business? If so, then explore the following to start your journey…


  • Where can I get specific advice?
    Contact your local college for support and advice.
  • What roles are available in the business and how many are available?
    Consider creating an entry level position if it doesn’t exist at present.
  • How do I recruit apprentices?
    Speak to the local college and gain the support of your current employees (once you are committed then engage with other organisations as previously mentioned above)

** Functional skills are recognised as the educational foundation required for the workplace, these include maths english and ICT (information Communication and Technology)