Trade industries have always employed apprentices, this has been the training ground for many of today’s industry professionals. Now, with a real skills gap across the market, have you considered an apprentice?
We take a look a the pros and cons of recruiting an apprentice for the trade industry:


Cost Effective

As you’re giving your time and taking a chance on an individual with little experience you do pay a lower salary. The current minimum wage for an apprentice is £3.30 an hour, so it’s certainly worth considering from a cost point of view. Apprentices expect a lower entry salary, as the real value is coming from the skills taught that will hopefully set them up for life. With the government scheme you may also receive financial rewards for hiring an apprentice in to your business.

Skills Gap

If you’re an electrical contractor and have a real skills gap in your business, then an apprentice can be the solution for plugging the gap. Often as part of their apprenticeship they’ll attend off site courses, learning new skills they can bring to their role. Alternatively you can send them on specific courses to learn skills that you’re desperate for within your business.


As you have trained the apprentice from the ground up, there’s the assumption that they’ll be more loyal, and more invested in your business. When you’re training an individual, you want to know that you have their commitment to ensure you’re investing your money and time in the right person, so it’s worth considering that 7 in 10 apprentices stay with their employer once their training has been completed.

Eager to Learn

With tradesmen that have been in the industry for a number of years or those that have trained elsewhere, you may be struggling for individuals that are keen to learn. However often as the apprentice has decided to train whilst working, they are keen to pick up and learn as much as possible, giving you a really enthusiastic and motivated employee!

Demonstrates Growth

When you work with your clients, and explain why your apprentice is attending the job with you, it can be beneficial for the image of your business. It sends a message that not only are you investing in growing your company, but also that you have the skills and knowledge to develop an industry professional of the future.


Time Consuming

Taking the time to teach an apprentice your trade, is certainly going to slow you down, even meaning in the short-term you can take on less work. The apprentice will demand a great deal of your support to be able to function effectively in the job, and will need to ask questions to learn, so you prepare to be patient!

Administration - When you bring an apprentice in to your business, there are a number of different paperwork you need to complete initially. You must then regularly review their progress, and if hired through a formal apprenticeship scheme, you must submit paperwork relating to their performance and progression.


Once you commit to having an apprentice within your business, you must commit to at least a year, even up to four years depending on the trade and the kind of apprentice you take on. You need to think about the long-term goals and growth of your business, and how the apprentice would fit in to that. Plus it will take a long time for an apprentice to starting working independently, and earning money rather than simply costing it, so you need to make sure you’re prepared for that.

Lack of Commercial Understanding

As well as a lack of experience, often you might find that apprentices lack the commercial understanding of working within the trade. As a trades person you’ll often be in the home or work place of your clients, and you know how important presenting a professional and competent image is. Apprentices, with a lack of industry experience, will have less of an understanding.

Keeping Them Engaged

The initial excitement has the potential to wear off quite quickly if you don’t keep an apprentice engaged. They are earning a low salary, and the reality of that might hit them quite quickly. It will be your responsibility to ensure that the level of training you provide and the end goal is enticing enough to keep their interest and ensure their loyalty to your company.

You need to consider the pros and cons and make the decision that is right for your business, not just today but in the future. However you also need to remember that you were once just starting out, and wouldn’t it be great to help someone else reach their potential too?

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