Tech apprentices: Five myths busted

There are multiple concerns that are preventing tech entrepreneurs taking on apprentices: but are any of them valid?

For many tech employers, apprenticeships are surrounded by a fog of misconceptions – they must be expensive, time consuming and bureaucratic. It’s easy to feel that taking on a tech apprentice couldn’t be a viable business decision, or that it should be parked in favour of old, dependable recruitment options.

Don’t let yourself or a company you work with be held back by outdated perceptions of modern, best practice apprenticeships. Read on while we explode the five most common myths:

MYTH I: Running an apprenticeship scheme will take up too much management time

The Government is keen to encourage companies to recruit apprentices and the process has been streamlined to help businesses find the skilled people they need as easily as possible.

The key first step is to find a good training provider, as they’ll be able to help you with everything from identifying where an apprentice could fit into your business, to putting together a training programme and accessing funding.

Providers who have the Tech Partnership’s Tech Industry Gold accreditation have passed a rigorous audit to ensure they can offer the very best support to apprentice employers.

Customised training programmes, help with induction and experienced guidance on day to day management all mean an apprentice will start delivering business value from day one – so you’ll soon see the benefits for your business, whatever its size.

>See also: Growing your business through apprenticehsips

By taking on a Tech Industry Gold apprentice you can also access apprentice management resources through the Employer Apprenticeship Network. The forum will allow you to learn from employers who have been benefiting from their own high-quality apprenticeships programmes for some time.

MYTH II: Finding and recruiting apprentice candidates will be difficult and time consuming

This is another thing that a good training provider will take off your hands, to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible. They have excellent contacts with local schools and colleges, and work with careers professionals and recruitment websites.

They’ll deal with the business of finding candidates and narrowing down to the ones with the maturity, attitude and aptitude to work in your business. All you have to do is choose from a shortlist of eager candidates who are local to you and ready to start work.

MYTH III: My business is too small to take on apprentices

One in ten members of the Federation of Small Businesses have taken on an apprentice in the past year. If you’ve got work that needs doing and someone to manage and mentor a new recruit, you’re big enough to benefit from an apprentice.

If you’ve got people working the technologies that drive your business, a tech apprentice could be just the extra resource they need. Or perhaps you’re wondering whether investing in digital marketing expertise could drive the next stage of growth – the new digital marketing apprenticeship could be just the ticket.

MYTH IV: Taking on an apprentice will cost too much, compared with a graduate or an experienced hire

The Centre for Economics and Business Research puts a high estimate on the return on investment for apprenticeships and has calculated that the economy benefits by £21 for every £1 of public money spent on them, thanks to higher profits for businesses.

The Government is also helping employers with training costs so that they can take on apprentices. Depending on the age of your apprentice, you can access up to 100% of the cost of the training. In addition, accredited training providers can ensure you very quickly experience return on investment for your recruitment.

Taking on an apprentice can also be a cost-effective way to grow your team if the new hire develops the exact skills your business needs and you’re then able to free up existing staff to take on more responsibilities. According to the National Apprenticeship Service, it can even attract new customers.

Their research shows that over 80% of people are more likely to use a business if it offers apprenticeships to young people.

MYTH V: All the best apprentices will be snapped up by big tech companies

It’s true that the big tech companies run top notch apprenticeship schemes that attract plenty of interest. But don’t let that put you off – many aspiring young tech professionals actively want to be in smaller companies – where they can feel an important part of the business right from the start.

Potential tech apprentices will look for companies that can offer them a good all-round experience and top quality training but also help with developing broader skills, or exposure to a range of business issues. More than 2,700 apprentices are already on the Tech Partnership’s Tech Industry Gold Apprenticeships, employed by organisations of all sizes.

These apprenticeship standards were developed by leading employers, including BT, Fujitsu and Lloyds Bank, as well as by SMEs, who have the extensive experience in building tech skills in a way that can be applied to your business. In short, there are no industry barriers to offering credible tech apprenticeships.

Chances are, a large number of aspiring tech workers will be available and keen to join your team. The number of people applying for a tech apprenticeship has doubled in the past three years. More employers need to see past the myths and leapfrog the barriers to introducing tech apprenticeships, and tap into the talent that could propel their business into the digital age. 

Tech Industry Gold apprenticeships

Tech Industry Gold apprenticeships are programmes accredited by the Tech Partnership for their quality, focus on early productivity of apprentices, and the level of support businesses receive. With Tech Industry Gold apprenticeships, you can choose an apprentice with confidence and give young people a great start to their careers, knowing they are being trained up on all the latest technologies.

Through employer-designed course standards, and online development activities, Tech Industry Gold apprentices quickly gain the business, technical and interpersonal skills that are needed within the tech sector. At the same time, employers receive comprehensive support in sourcing and interviewing candidates, and best practice advice that helps save time and effort in bringing apprentices up-to-speed.

Further reading: Ambitious women shun entrepreneur title

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.