West Midlands businesses rely on their workforces’ skills and expertise but, as employers find it increasingly difficult to locate vital staff, many are turning to Apprenticeships to recruit and train the staff they need, now and in the future.

Dudley College works with over 300 employers, predominantly in the West Midlands, but also nationally, helping businesses harness new talent and understand the benefits that apprentices can bring to their bottom line.

With a mixture of on-and off-job training, apprentices learn the skills businesses need and, like all employees, apprentices receive a wage.

The National Minimum Wage for apprentices is £2.60 per hour. However, as skills develop, many employers tend to increase wages – in fact, research has found that apprentices earn an average of £170 per week.

A further incentive to employ an apprentice is the free training for 16 – 18 year olds, but if your employee is 19-plus a contribution is required depending on age and the Apprenticeship they work towards.

The College can help identify Apprenticeships that fit the skills that businesses need, and works closely with the employer to recruit the right person into the role – either a new or current member of their workforce.

Many employers use the college’s free recruitment service to advertise their vacancy and help with interviewing, making life easier for smaller businesses that do not have in-house personnel departments.

Once a suitable candidate is employed, Dudley College is on hand to support the apprentice and the employer. With monthly visits from the college, there are numerous opportunities to discuss the apprentices’ training and progression, and how they fit into the business.

Many employers are concerned about the Health and Safety aspect of employing an apprentice, but the college employer team is always on hand to advise on this aspect of Apprenticeships.

With 83%* of employers now relying on Apprenticeships to provide the skilled workers they need for the future, Dudley College is ideally placed to support employers who plan to train their current and future workforce though Apprenticeships.

*Contact Dudley College Skills Hub on 01384 363 314 to find just how easy it is to employ an apprentice.

* Research conducted in February 2008 by Populus on behalf of the LSC