One of the main determinants of whether we do something or not is establishing "what's in it for me?" For an employer contemplating taking on an apprentice it's no different. What's in it for the employer?

With the Apprenticeship Levy coming into operation from 1 May 2017, there is no better time to look at the benefits to the employer.

New programmes, new quality

There are a lot of apprenticeships to choose from to meet your training needs. Apprenticeships are available in 1500 job roles, covering more than 170 industries, from advertising to management, from environmental engineering to legal and even tax!
270 apprenticeship standards have been published so far, of which over 84 are higher and degree apprenticeships. The "standards" are effectively the syllabus guidelines for an apprenticeship outlining who it is aimed at and what they need to do. The new standards are more robust with rigorous assessment and a strong focus on quality.

Developed by employers

The standards have been developed by employers for employers. More than 2,600 employers have taken a lead in designing the new apprenticeship standards and setting the knowledge, skills and behaviours included within them.

By employers being involved in the standards they have ensured the knowledge, skills and behaviours are more relevant to the roles in the sector and meet the needs of the business creating well-rounded workers.

The right knowledge, skills and behaviours for the job

Let's explore these knowledge, skills and behaviours a little more by taking the Level 4 Professional Taxation Technician apprenticeship as an example.

You want your apprentice to have all the necessary qualities to succeed in their role, including the technical knowledge to do the job and this is recognized in the "on programme" training specified in the standard where apprentices can follow the Examination Route, or the Work Experience Route.

With the Examination Route the apprentice can gain the ATT qualification. This respected professional qualification gives the employer the assurance that the apprentice has reached a certain technical level, whilst also demonstrating the knowledge required for the apprenticeship standard. Plus the qualification itself is an attractive lure to aid recruitment!

As for the skills and behaviours, they encourage the apprentice's personal development and broaden their understanding, making the apprentice a valuable additional to the team.

Skills for the Level 4 Professional Taxation Technician include communication, leadership, teamwork, planning and prioritising – all relevant attributes needed for a successful career in tax.

Ethics, integrity and adaptability are incorporated within the behaviours of the standard. By applying and evidencing these to what the apprentice does at work they get a true sense of what these mean and why they are important for the business, rather than merely learning them as isolated concepts.

The new standards enable employers to literally grow their own talent, developing apprentices with the specific industry-relevant skills they need to be effective in the business.


After finishing, 7 in 10 apprentices (77%) stay with the same employer, meaning the relationship between employer and apprentice solidifies and apprentices are not surprisingly loyal to those who give them their first job and invest in their development.

Apprentices can start as trainees and gain an in depth understanding of the business, making them invaluable as they progress upwards.


The new apprenticeship standards have been described as "talent attraction tools". Apprenticeships aid recruitment as they provide a strong proposition of qualifications and work-based learning to appeal to new talent.

Apprenticeships can also directly reduce training costs. Apprenticeships aren't all about hiring new recruits, apprenticeships are for anyone learning new skills – that includes reskilling and upskilling the existing workforce.

Employers can get the talent they need in house with apprenticeships and reduce spend on retraining existing staff or hiring new staff.

The Levy

We can't forget the levy. For those employers paying the apprenticeship levy, the only way to access those funds is to train apprentices. If you are paying in, why not take back out and make use of that pot?

And for those employer's not paying the levy (or where there is not enough funds in the Digital Account), there is co-investment. The employer only needs to pay 10% of the apprenticeship training costs and the government will pay the rest up to the funding band. That's only 10% whereas without an apprenticeship, the employer may be paying significantly more to train for the same qualification.

The final word

As an employer, what's in it for you? Plenty!

Why not offer an apprentice the opportunity of a fast-track to a great career and in return develop your people and improve the quality of your business.