Hiring apprentices: A guide for tradesmen


Construction companies are experiencing a severe skills gap following the collapse of Carillion that left thousands of apprentices unemployed. Now is an ideal opportunity for construction firms to increase their workforce through recruiting talented apprentices as a means of hiring more workers.

Eighty percent of business owners believe apprentices help to make their businesses more efficient; those who complete an apprentice course tend to increase productivity by an average of £214 per week.

If you’re planning to hire an apprentice in the near future, we have created this guide in order to answer some of the key questions about apprentice placements.

Why hire an apprentice?

Let’s first discuss the advantages of hiring apprentices. Since their inception, apprenticeships have proven themselves advantageous for both employee and employer, with over 250,000 UK companies now offering this scheme.

Apprenticeship offers numerous advantages to learners. Not only is an apprenticeship paid as full-time work, but you’re able to earn while you learn! Once an apprentice earns their nationally recognised qualification (NVQ), they’re paid like regular full-time workers would.

Employers who hire apprentices can reap numerous advantages when hiring them:

  • New talent can be trained to acquire the necessary skills that will increase company performance.
  • Enhancement of skills of construction workers.
  • Due to the apprenticeship tax, recruitment costs have been drastically reduced.
  • Staff turnover can be reduced by decreasing staff membership turnover.
  • Enhancing productivity levels.

What roles are available for apprentices?

Apprenticeships have undergone many changes over the past decade and now encompass an array of craft abilities and office jobs. There are different levels available ranging from intermediate level 2 up to advanced levels 4,5,and 6. These levels give apprentices an opportunity to advance in their chosen field should they choose.

Apprenticeships in construction are increasingly popular and offer many career options to choose from, including carpentry, joinery, bricklaying demolition glazing dry lining painting decorating as well as scaffolding.

Every apprenticeship has an Apprenticeship Framework approved by government.

Where do I find an apprentice?

There are two options available when hiring an apprentice: directly or through third party services. Which option suits your needs best will depend on whether or not you plan to hire them for the duration of their training program.

Apprentices can be obtained in two ways.

1. Hiring an Apprentice directly

Direct hiring is considered the classic way to hire, often leading to apprentices remaining with their firm after their apprenticeship is over. Direct hire makes things simpler for both employers and apprentices alike. Grants are available for Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) tax payers in-scope as well as non-levy payers; grants of £1,500 may even be given out for small-sized businesses employing direct apprenticeships.

2. Hiring an Apprentice via a Shared Apprenticeship Scheme (SAS)

Hire through an SAS apprenticeship is often best for smaller firms with contracts for short periods with clients; as the employee will usually be hired through a third-party that prescreens and recruits applicants on your behalf. This solution provides more freedom in prescreening the candidate pool.

Since you will not be working directly for their employer, any grants or financial aid they are eligible to receive would not apply; an administration fee must instead be paid as payment for services provided.

To find an apprentice quickly and effectively, contact the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). As one of the main providers in the UK for apprentices, they have over 45 years of experience instructing apprentices from start to finish on their journeys to success.