Grow your business – Apprenticeships

If you want to grow your business … may well want to look at this.

They will work for a work-based qualification or GCSEs. They only work a 4-day week, 7.5 hours a day with one day a week for college. They must have a defined apprenticeship.

The Government would cover 90% of the cost of training and assessing your apprentice so long as your wage bill doesn't go over £3 million each year.

The Government directs that you must pay them at least the minimum wage.

  • from £3.90 if aged under 19 or aged over 19 but in their 1st year of their apprenticeship* (hardly very motivating so I would aim for a minimum of £5). *you do need someone with a spark or a spirit, rather than someone who you need to 'parent'
  • from £6.15 if past 1st year of apprenticeship and aged 19-20 years old
  • from £7.70 if past 1st year of apprenticeship and aged 21-24 years old
  • from £8.21 if past 1st year of apprenticeship and aged 25 or over

Is your time worth more than £5.00 an hour?

Think about the jobs you never get around to doing at all or that dig into your weekends or leisure time.

Apprentices need to be taught all basic procedures, and then they can build up to more complicated process with instructions, but pace this. It may be natural to you, but teens, on the whole, only believe what their peer groups tell them rather than what adults tell them!

Having an apprentice means that you don't miss phone calls. It may be a new customer enquiry, after all. If you are not free now, customers may call the next on their list. How much has that just cost you? I only call new suppliers twice, at the most; then I shop elsewhere, what about you?

  1. See them as someone who will do all the legwork for you and to save you time and can organise you.
  2. Your time is valuable. How many jobs do you really dislike that you can pass over to them? Washing paintbrushes, cleaning cars, filing, sorting post. They can do paperwork, post, keep the office tidy, lift, fetch and carry, top-up office supplies, be looking at your competitors' activity and their product pricing, research/ look through trade papers for articles for you, etc. – add your list here………….!
  3. Save yourself wasted time with 'unsuitable' candidates. Interview them by phone first so that you can detect attitude and tone. Their voice may be the voice that your prospect or customer hears first.
  4. Make it clear in writing exactly what you expect, but base it upon their collaboration rather than mandates and sets of rules. They may have left further education to get away from precisely that.
  5. You ought to provide them with a job spec and run through it with them.
  6. Your coaching time is valuable, so establish that they are keen to learn and develop.
  7. You need them to show loyalty and commitment. They must understand that.
  8. They will need very clearguidance and support. Written procedures for each office/shop practice.
  9. They'll need guidance on how to answer the phone to suit you and your standards and style. If you don't set them, they'll set their own.
  10. They will need some real support time. Allocate a fixed time each week, where possible, for formal coaching. Coach them and you'll see the results.
  11. They will need a proper workstation, desk, tools, computer, etc. Put them in a cupboard and they may respond accordingly.
  12. Remember your first interview or job? Terrifying? Bear that in mind. They seem to be confident, but they're probably not.
  13. They are not, or likely, to be as committed as you are. But their role must be valuable rather than just seen as an office boy/girl. Demean their role and it will get the respect it deserves. Or they'll leave and your coaching time is wasted.
  14. They must see that there is a lot to learn and possibly a long-term future with you.
  15. Work through their mistakes with them, so they learn. Ask them open questions about errors and let them understand what the consequences were, or could have been.
  16. Make them coffee sometimes.
  17. Let them 'see it for themselves', so that they can start understanding your product.
  18. Let them have ideas they can share with you. (Even if the ideas are off the wall, have no foundation, etc., let them feel they can air them and that the ideas won't be dismissed). Believe me, their keenness will keep their interest.
  19. Best not leave them alone for too long in the early days. In fact, you may find that there is an instruction that they cannot be left alone or at all in the first month. (So, on the job training may be an idea. (Isn't it a good idea that they see you in action to help their understanding of what you do and how you like things done?)
  20. Remember to partition sensitive company information. While we're not suggesting there would be any malice, you may still want some company, or personal records kept confidential.
  21. Make it clear what email they can answer and how to do it. If they don't know the answer, they shouldn't make it up! Encourage them to use a holding /out of office type mail, 'We'll respond to you by x o'clock.'
  22. Don't let them use your company your Facebook or Twitter accounts.
  23. When they're not there, checktheir browser history, their outbox, and your phonebill. You may need to put them right, but they should only need correcting once. (But three strikes...)
  24. Let them understand what is urgent, which customers should be directed to you immediately, etc.
  25. They need to know that the phone should ring a maximum of three times before being answered.
  26. Start the day with abrief/ a do-able list as to what they need to complete that day and what you expect from them. Encourage them to learn how to organise themselves and their work.
  27. Take out the guesswork. Get them confidently learning more about your products and competitors on Google.
  28. Give them short breaks and a lunch break, teenagers have a short boredom/concentration threshold.
  29. Avoid rash bonuses or they will only work for their bonus and forget the core work.
  30. Conduct a formal review of their work at the end of each month.
  31. Your maximum exposure up to 4 years.

Encourage. Coach. Give them a sense of value and purpose. Give structure. Write procedures for them to follow. Then gain the rewards of more free time for yourself to work ON your business, not IN your business.

PS. Don't forget that the first £3,000 of employers NI is exempt.

Talk to us if you want to maximise tax efficiency on salaries.