What are the benefits of apprenticeships for employers?

The long-term success and growth of any business are reliant on its people. By equipping the right people with the right skills, businesses can create a future-proofed workforce to reach their unique goals.

Whether it's upskilling an existing employee or recruiting fresh talent, apprenticeships have the power to give businesses a competitive edge with upskilled teams. They’re more popular than ever – and it’s clear why too.

Now employer-led, the catalogue of programmes is only growing to close industry-wide skills gaps. From entry-level to management, apprenticeships are an investment in teams at all levels, and a transformative tool for both people and businesses.

But what exactly are the advantages of apprenticeships for employers? And more specifically, how do apprenticeships benefit employers? Whether it’s attracting fresh talent or unlocking financial incentives to build a more resilient workforce, here we explain the key benefits of hiring an apprentice.

Why apprenticeships are good for business

Upskill where you need to most

Apprenticeships are an invaluable tool for upskilling in areas that matter most to employers. They’re a highly effective route to recruit and train future talent, address skills shortages and develop careers across core parts of your business.

With role-specific development programmes and tailored on-the-job training to maximise impact, learners effectively apply their skills from day one of their apprenticeship. You upskill where resource is needed most, and learners apply newly learnt skills straight away – a win-win situation for everyone.

Training isn’t aimed at a particular age group or career level either. Apprenticeships have come a long way, with programmes designed for every level. For employers, it means they can employ apprentices within different teams, to drive skills development across their business.

From school leavers to new graduates, career developers to changers, apprenticeships develop well-trained, highly skilled staff that bring real and measurable value – just some key benefits of hiring an apprentice. We’ve worked with B&Q to develop home-grown talent with career-defining apprenticeships. Find out how we did it.

payment to employers hiring an apprentice aged 16-18 years old
of companies that invested in apprenticeships report an improvement in staff retention
of applicants to Lifetime vacancies do so because it's an apprenticeship

Attract new talent

The world of work is evolving faster than ever, so it’s never been more important to secure the best new talent to fill key skills gaps to build a resilient workforce. Apprenticeships are an invaluable tool for talent attraction, supporting businesses with their growth and resourcing strategy to develop a workforce with skills that are matched to a company’s future needs.

Develop industry-leading skills

By hiring an apprentice, businesses access industry-leading training. Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes developed by employers that work in your sector, for your sector. They’re designed to keep your business cutting-edge, with training that evolves with the needs of industries.

Around 75% of applicants that apply to Lifetime’s vacancies do so because it’s an apprenticeship. Earning an accreditation through industry-specific training attracts driven, forward-thinking applicants who are enthusiastic about the qualification they‘ve chosen – a real asset to any employer.

At Lifetime, learners are trained by coaches that are experts in their field, with training that is directly relevant to day-to-day jobs. Our programmes are designed and developed by our team of over thirty curriculum experts. It’s how we adapt training to meet our partners’ business needs, and act as a natural extension of their teams.

Diversification of your teams

Diversity is vital to the future of any organisation, and creating a rounded workforce is key to business innovation. Apprenticeships boost social mobility, reaching people from diverse backgrounds to open up opportunities for all and diversifying the world of work.

By democratising the workplace, employers gain access to an entirely new talent pool, onboarding a wider range of candidates onto apprenticeship programmes that enrich business from the ground up. Ultimately, apprenticeships inject new perspectives into a work culture to create a rounded, balanced and more successful workforce.

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"Our businesses are better because our apprentices are bringing new ideas and great ways of working into their workplace! We couldn’t do it without our great partnership with Lifetime to provide the expertise to train our apprentices to be the best they can be."

Jo Bradford, Marston’s Group Apprenticeship Manager

Financial advantages of apprenticeships for employers

Free recruitment

Any employer that outsources apprenticeship recruitment through a reputable training provider directly benefits from advanced recruitment expertise. But there’s also an opportunity to save on hiring costs too.

At Lifetime, we provide a free recruitment service that has national reach. It’s the largest apprentice recruitment service in the UK, with dedicated teams trained to hand-pick the best people for specific roles.

We attract, screen and shortlist fresh talent, so our partners can make the final call on their new employees. It’s how we help businesses cut recruitment costs and save time when onboarding new people, so they can focus on other business priorities. With a future-focussed approach to talent attraction, we develop a strategy that has maximum reach, to find the right people to grow with organisations over time.

A cost-effective strategy for upskilling

Apprenticeships don’t just fill skills gaps. They’re a cost-effective strategy for upskilling too. If you’re a levy payer, you’re already paying towards an apprenticeship programme that can unlock workforce potential. If you are a non-levy paying organisation, the government will heavily subsidise the cost, so it can be a cost-effective strategy for a small business.

Your apprenticeship levy pot contains the funds to cover apprenticeship training costs and the development of your programme, from paying a training provider to assessment costs.

At Lifetime, we work closely with our partners to understand their business needs, so we can optimise their levy funds. We track every penny they spend, so their unique business needs are met and the levy is maximised.

There are cost-effective routes for upskilling with apprenticeships for non-levy paying businesses too. You can share the cost of apprenticeship training with the government and only pay 5% of the course cost by leveraging the co-investment scheme.

Cost-savings on national insurance

Apprenticeships offer further opportunities for cost savings for both levy and non-levy paying businesses. For apprentices aged 25 or younger, you don’t need to worry about employer contributions for Class 1 National Insurance (if they earn >£967 a week). The employee still pays their share, so this benefit is purely for employers.

It’s yet another scheme employers can use to save money while upskilling valuable employees – and adds to the benefits of employing an apprentice. Looking for further info? You can find out more information about paying apprentices or employers' NI and the apprenticeship levy.

Government incentives for apprentices

Employers can access government funds and grants to help cover the costs of apprenticeships and invest in their teams’ future. It means that, more than ever before, apprenticeships are a route employers can use to develop valuable career pathways.

There are wide-ranging government-led benefits of employing an apprentice, with cash incentives readily available for businesses to make the most of. Employers receive £1,000 for hiring an apprentice aged 16 to 18 years old, or aged 19 to 24 with an education, health and care plan, or who has been in the care of their local authority.

Apprenticeships can be used effectively in line with the government’s plan for skills recovery too. This year has already seen a huge push for skills training and development, with the launch of government initiatives: Way to Work and Skills for Life. Find out more here.

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Apprenticeship benefits for employees

Apprenticeships improve retention

Apprentices stay, and the reasons are clear. There are widespread benefits of apprenticeship for employees – training doesn’t just upskill learners in their roles and increase their confidence. Apprenticeships are mapped to internal career progression, providing structured pathways that improve retention across all roles and sectors.

Learners understand their next step clearly and how to work towards it. With the knowledge that they’re being invested in, they’re encouraged to see their job as a career – and a valued part of the workforce. It’s a sustainable solution for upskilling, and one of the reasons that 69% of companies that have invested in apprenticeships report an improvement in staff retention.

We’ve worked with DX to nurture in-house talent and create an apprenticeship culture throughout the business. By offering apprenticeships at different levels, we’ve developed a clear path for progression for DX’s people, and improved employee retention.

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“At DX, we're keen to create a culture of apprenticeships. Before working with Lifetime, we weren't using our apprenticeship levy effectively and were limited in terms of training for our internal employees. By offering apprenticeships across the business, we're creating more opportunities and a clear path of progression for our employees.”

Marie Fuller, Learning & Development Business Partner at DX

Unlock workforce potential with Lifetime apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are an investment in your people, and therefore your business. At Lifetime, our approach to skills training is simple. We act as a natural extension of your team, working closely with our partners to deliver industry-leading programmes to deliver training that impacts both people and business.

With 25+ years’ experience and over 40 programmes across different levels, we have the size, scale and multi-sector expertise to unlock potential across a wide variety of roles and industries. Our well-established infrastructure means we deliver consistent training on a national scale, while strategically adapting training to business needs.

With industry-leading training and a strategic approach to upskilling, we work to unlock the benefits of apprenticeships for our partners and their people.

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Our partnership with Lifetime has been integral to developing a successful young talent recruitment strategy. Many of our apprentices have gone on to become managers and supervisors. This talent progression is exactly what we were after - and proves that apprenticeships are an incredibly effective way of developing and retaining talent at M&B.

Lauren Carroll, Vocational Learning Attraction Manager at Mitchells & Butlers