How to use apprentices effectively in your firm
Hiring apprentices can be an incredibly cost-effective way of resourcing your firm, therefore, you need to make sure that you’re making the most of them. This article shows you how to do just that.
How can an apprentice benefit my firm?
Apprentices can come in all shapes and sizes from the traditional school leaver to someone going through a career change or even an existing member of staff at your firm. They all, however, provide many benefits.
Taking on an apprentice allows you to:
Maintain a healthy cash flow – if your cash flow is tight, you can pay apprentices a lower wage. This is true for the UK where apprentices are paid £3.50 an hour rather than the current national minimum wage of £7.50.
- Gain a new perspective – whether young apprentices or well-experienced employees, on-the-job training can lead to new ideas that could benefit your firm.
- Gain an employee who is enthusiastic about the work and motivated to progress – you can never have a shortage of dedicated staff, especially ones who want to grow with your firm in the long term.
- Teach and mould your new employee to help them grow and develop into a valuable member of your firm – you can create your ideal employee which is invaluable for any business.
How can I use apprentices effectively?
You will only benefit from taking on apprentices if you help them to learn and grow within your firm. Here are three ways to do this effectively.
Be in contact with them more often
Many apprentices, especially school leavers, will be on a very steep learning curve, so assigning them a workplace buddy or having regular contact with them yourself is essential.
Although a high-level of supervision might seem like a lot of time away from more productive work, by simply ensuring that your apprentices have someone that they can go to for help, you’re actually saving yourself time and money therefore increasing productivity.
Think about it. Is it better to show an apprentice a job and have them learn it well? Or is it better to leave them to their own devices? I’m sure you can see that the latter would result in wasted time not knowing what should be done and potentially costly mistakes being made.
Spell out exactly what is expected of them more regularly
Most likely, your apprentice is a school leaver so will have no knowledge of accountancy or the world of work. Therefore, it is your job to teach them.
The best way to learn is to spell out everything for them such as why certain jobs need to be done, how they contribute to a great client service and what is expected of all employees. Only then can they be expected to take this on board and perform how you want them to.
It is important to remember here that they are complete novices, so sometimes one explanation may not be enough. Make sure to encourage them to ask questions because this will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Create the time to guide them appropriately
Before you even take on an apprentice, you need to plan a personalised training programme for them.
How long will you take them on for? Who will supervise them? How will you monitor their development? How will you factor in their exterior training at their college?
By planning all of this beforehand and coordinating how they will fit into your firm, you can ensure that the transition from school to work is as smooth as possible and that they are always learning and progressing the way that you want them to.
Taking on apprentices at your small accountancy firm can be a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t have to be. Just remember the 3 C’s: contact, communication and coordination!