5 reasons your plumbing business should hire an apprentice

plumbing Apprentice

The UK government recently confirmed new reforms to its apprenticeship funding system, making £60 million available to help young people from deprived backgrounds get into an apprenticeship. This was part of a nationwide drive to create three million new apprenticeships by 2020

New Legislation

Under the new legislation, employers with fewer than 50 employees will receive 100% of the cost of training apprentices aged between 16 and 18 years old. This also applies to businesses that take on 19-24-year-olds who were previously in care, or who have an education or health care plan. Other details revealed include the fact that only businesses with a payroll above £3 million must pay into the Apprenticeship Levy.

All this points to huge financial benefits for plumbing businesses, merchants, and installation companies to hire an apprentice. Putting the financial support on offer to one side, though, what other value can an apprentice add to your business?

John Guest Apprentice Scheme

At John Guest, we run successful graduate and apprenticeship schemes and speak from experience as we countdown our top five reasons to hire an apprentice for your business.

1. Hire People with No Preconceived Ideas about the Workplace

We can probably all admit to that one hire that just didn’t quite work out. The experienced person we appointed to add experience and fresh ideas to the business, but who was stuck in their ways and unwilling to accept our unique way of working. Apprentices do not have this baggage. They can come into your business with no preconceived ideas of how things should be done. Instead, they present the opportunity for you to mould your workforce to your own company ethos, enabling you to cement a strong teamwork ethic that also aligns with the company's goals and objectives.

2. Inject New Ideas, Enthusiasm, and Energy

Most young people do not embark on apprenticeships for the money, but for the opportunity to build a successful career. They are eager to absorb information, acquire new skills, and understand the intricacies of the industry. This thirst for learning drives them to actively seek opportunities for growth and improvement, both through formal training and on-the-job experiences. Their enthusiasm for learning is infectious and can inspire others in the workplace to adopt a similar mindset. They are genuinely enthusiastic about their work and therefore, more likely to suggest fresh ideas and new ways of working, than some people who have worked in the industry for a long time. In many instances, apprentices inject a new energy into the work environment that can uplift the spirits of their colleagues and create a more vibrant and engaging work atmosphere. Their enthusiasm can inspire and motivate others, fostering a sense of camaraderie and teamwork that motivates their colleagues to be even more successful and happy at work. Who can say no to that?

3. Reduce The Training Strain

It may seem counterintuitive to think that hiring an apprentice can reduce the strain on your training budget, but this is actually the case. The national apprenticeship programme has been designed to reduce the number of staff training that businesses need to provide since apprentices will already be completing modules in key skills which match the job role they are fulfilling, as part of their programme. As a result, apprentices come into the workplace equipped with foundational knowledge and skills that directly match the requirements of the position. This pre-existing training reduces the burden on your business to provide extensive training to new hires. Instead, you can focus on further refining and developing the apprentice's skills within the context of your specific business operations. This targeted approach saves both time and resources, allowing you to allocate your training budget more efficiently.

Moreover, the apprenticeship program ensures that apprentices receive consistent and standardised training, which contributes to a higher level of competency and proficiency in their work. This means that you can have confidence in the quality of training they have received and their ability to perform tasks related to their job role effectively.

4. Improve Your Staff Turnover

Attracting and retaining talent is difficult in the plumbing industry, which is currently experiencing a skills shortage. This makes it even more beneficial to hire an apprentice and train them up in your own unique way. It is often the case that apprentices go on to become full-time employees at a business at the end of their programme, remaining at the company for many years. If you buy into an apprentice and help to develop their professional career, they are likely to buy into your business and remain loyal to you.

By hiring an apprentice and helping them grow, you not only address the skills shortage but also create a positive and rewarding work environment. Apprentices become a part of your company culture, aligning with its values and goals. This alignment fosters a sense of belonging and encourages them to remain loyal to your business, reducing turnover rates and ensuring a stable workforce.

In a challenging industry where talent retention is crucial, hiring and developing apprentices provides a strategic advantage. It allows you to shape the future of your business by nurturing talented individuals who can contribute to its growth and success in the long term.

5. Inspire The Next Generation of Industry Talent

The previously mentioned skills shortage is showing no signs of going away quickly. However, one way that businesses can help to minimise the risk posed by the potential future lack of skills, is by championing and nurturing fresh talent. By taking on apprentices and helping them to develop their careers, and later sharing their success with the rest of the industry, businesses can begin to inspire young people to pursue a career in plumbing. The more youth and talent that we can start to encourage, the smaller the impact of the skills shortage over a long period.

Ultimately, by championing and nurturing fresh talent through apprenticeships, businesses contribute to the overall growth and stability of the plumbing industry. They actively shape the future workforce, ensuring a continuous supply of skilled individuals who can meet the industry's demands. By investing in apprentices and inspiring the next generation, businesses play a vital role in building a sustainable pipeline of talent, reducing the long-term impact of the skills shortage.

There’s little question of the value that apprentices can bring to a business like yours, and with the UK government getting behind apprentices, now is the time to take advantage.

Develop world-class skills with RWC

We are always looking out for fresh talent to bring new ideas and strengthen our teams.

Richard Bateman Headshot

Richard Bateman

Product Marketing Manager Plumbing and Heating

About the author

A highly experienced and passionate professional, I have over 15 years' experience as a commercial and domestic plumber and hold NVQ Level 3 qualifications from City and Guilds

Since joining RWC in 2015, I began as a technical engineer, utilising my extensive knowledge to provide exceptional support. Currently, I am thrilled to be working with the marketing department as a Product Marketing Manager. 

This role allows me to combine my technical background with a keen eye for market trends, ensuring that RWC's products meet the evolving needs of the industry. With my wealth of experience and commitment to excellence, I am proud to serve as a spokesperson for RWC, sharing our innovative solutions and contributing to the growth of the plumbing and heating sector.