Grow your trade business: take on an apprentice – but do it properly

Jan 14, 2022 | Construction

Picture it: two vans, two teams of lads, more work and more profit – and with you supervising, not breaking your back on the tools in your forties. Sounds good, right? But how do you get there? 

Let’s look at some of the reasons why you might want to hire an apprentice.

For a lot of tradesmen, taking on an apprentice is a brilliant first step. It’s a cost-effective way to get extra hands on deck, to train someone up from scratch, and start building a long-term plan. But apprentices aren’t cheap labour – you get out what you put in. 

Why take on an apprentice?


1. Hang up those tools

Training these new individuals will obviously take time, but that’s no issue when you think of the rewards you stand to gain from doing so. 

You’re improving the skill level of workers in the construction industry as a whole, by raising standards and encouraging new blood to get better at what they do.

You’ll also find taking on an apprentice gives you more time to manage your business and get away from doing stuff yourself. You’ll be able to focus on development and growth, and in the process help the next generation see the value of the great work that you’ve done in the past.

2. Plan for next year

In the downtime after the new year, it’s probably worth you looking to make some real strides in your business’s progression. 

During the quiet months, when it’s easy to put your feet up if you don’t need the work, you could be spending this time looking ahead and planning to take on an apprentice. 

Then come next year you’ll have a team with a year’s training behind them, more jobs, and more money!

3. Make tradesmen better

You all know the drill – we’ve all had people come work for us who have terrible working habits. 

Sure, they get the job done, but when push comes to shove they’re a pain to work with. Train up a newbie and you won’t have this issue. 

You can encourage and motivate them through the best practises, methodologies and people skills. Then not only will you have a better experience organising a job, but you’re giving them skills for life.

How much does an apprentice cost?

Not much! The current minimum wage for apprentices is £4.30 as last set in April 2021. This obviously includes all the time spent in training, as well as time on site. 

Your apprentice must:

  • work with experienced staff
  • learn job-specific skills
  • spend at least 20% of their normal working hours on training or study.

Basically, it’s a cost-effective way to make the trades workforce better and build your apprentice’s experience. Win-win.

And it gets better – there are other financial incentives you can make use of as a small business.

If your new starter is aged between 16-18 and you have under 50 employees, the National Apprenticeship Service will pay for 100% of the training costs up to the funding band maximum. 

This is then reduced to 95% for those aged 19 and over.

From 11 January 2022, you’ll also be able to get yourself a £3,000 payment for new apprentices of any age who started working for you between 1 October 2021 and 31 January 2022. They also need to have started their apprenticeship between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022.

Applications close on 15 May 2022, so keep this one in mind next year.

A new beginning

With your apprentice on board, you’ll find that suddenly you’re getting more work done, fostering a great team, and focusing on your business’s future. 

It can be hard to break the cycle of doing everything yourself, but taking on an apprentice is a great way to start.

Talk to us for advice on growing your business and long-term planning.

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