What are the business benefits of taking on an retail apprentice?

Skilled and trained employees are the foundation on which any successful business is built. Within the retail sector, apprentices can form an important part of a team, working across a range of business functions such as customer service and administration.

“Apprentices play an important part in today’s workforce and have a place in driving the economy forward,” says Myra Wall, managing director of Skillsfirst Awards. “Tackling a skills shortage is something to consider, particularly within more specialised areas of a retail business, such as butchery or IT back office. Without a trained workforce to support expansion, it is difficult for retailers to commit to new business opportunities.”

An employee who is fully trained and invested in by a company from the start of their career is much more likely to commit to the business and want to see it grow, which also reduces staff turnover and the associated costs of this, adds Wall.

In addition, taking on an apprentice is a cost-effective way of expanding the workforce, and the Government is contributing towards the cost. And, while the apprenticeship takes a year to complete, after that the individual should be a well-trained employee who needs little supervision.

Business research company Populus found that 77% of employers believe having an apprentice makes them more competitive, and Wall points out that “apprentices are keen to learn, highly motivated and loyal to the company that has invested in them”.

Apprentices have generally made a decision that they want to work in a specific sector and learn on the job, so they are likely to want to make the most of their opportunity.