Top 10 myths about apprenticeships in licensed retail

By Rachael Fidler

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Vocational education, Apprenticeship, Training

Through apprenticeships, operators have the opportunity to train youngsters providing them with the skills and behaviours that they want them to practice in their premises
Through apprenticeships, operators have the opportunity to train youngsters providing them with the skills and behaviours that they want them to practice in their premises
The myths surrounding the employment of apprentices in the licenced retail trade have only served to deter owners/operators of licenced premises from tapping into a hugely beneficial talent pipeline that could be available to them. Training provider HTP Training busts the most common myths.

1. Apprentices aged 16 cannot work behind a bar
The Licensing Act now states that at the age of 16 young people can legally do any kitchen work in licenced premises and, with the supervision of the manager/licensee, can legally serve alcohol. If you are 16 or 17, the licensee must not employ you in a bar at a time when it is open for the sale or consumption of alcohol, unless the work you do is part of an approved training scheme.

2. Owners/operators of licenced premises do not qualify for the £1,500 apprenticeships grant
The Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) with a value of £1,500 (or £3,000 for London employers) is available to small to medium sized employers recruiting 16-24-year-olds. Providing you employ less than 1,000 employees and you have not accessed Government funding for an apprentice in the last 12 months; you should qualify for the grant and your training provider should be able to guide you through the paperwork to secure it. You can receive a grant of £1,500 for each of your first 10 new apprentices, subject to funding availability 

3. You can only employ one apprentice at a time
You can employ as many apprentices as you wish. However it is important to bear in mind that each apprentice requires attentive, one-to-one mentoring. Therefore, you must ensure that you have sufficient time to manage and support each apprentice to enable them to become a productive, long term asset to your business and the industry.

4. Youngsters that want to be apprentices have limited potential
Just because a young person does not choose an academic route in to employment does not preclude them from being hugely successful in the world of work. Apprentices are motivated, quick to learn and keen to progress and there are now Higher Apprenticeships available which can satisfy the needs of those looking to achieve Higher Education qualifications.

5. The licensed retail trade does not need apprentices; it needs experienced, flexible, casual labour.
There is undoubtedly a place for casual, transient labour. Apprenticeships, however, are a way of bringing in new blood and creating a generation of well-trained and appropriately skilled future talent which the industry needs. Through apprenticeships, licenced premises owners and operators have the opportunity to train youngsters providing them with the skills and behaviours that they want them to practice in their premises. Done properly it sets young people on a career path that will benefit the industry by introducing generation of well-skilled, motivated and professional youngsters.

6. Apprentices must have someone with them at all times
Apprentices are motivated youngsters who want to learn. As with any new skill they need to be shown how to carry out and be allowed to practice but they do not need to be handheld. An apprentice who receives appropriate mentoring will rapidly become a productive key team member. When employing an apprentice you will, of course, need to comply with the law, as detailed in my first point above.

7. Apprentices are not experienced enough to carry out a skilled role
Apprentices are enthusiastic, are keen to progress and tend to pick things up quickly. Apprentices start their employment with no bad habits picked up from previous jobs and develop the skills and behaviours that you prioritise. Many employers are surprised by how quickly apprentices have a positive impact on the organisation.

8. Apprenticeships are just for 16-year-old school leavers
Actually you can be an apprentice at any age. Although the Government is giving funding priority to 16-23 year olds, anyone over 16 can apply to join an apprenticeship programme and benefit from being a paid employee in a job role working alongside experienced staff who will train them on the job.

9. Apprentices will need a lot of training ‘off site’
In certain industries there is a requirement for apprentices to complete some of their training off site however, the licenced trade is not one of them.  Depending on the modules being studied the vast majority of the course will be undertaken on your premises. An apprenticeship is a qualification and to be successful the young person must commit time to study and complete their assignments. Most employers expect their apprentice to do this in quieter work periods or at home.

10. There is too much bureaucracy involved in running an apprenticeship programme
The amount of bureaucracy the employer gets involved with will be determined by the quality of the training provider. A training provider who knows and understands the process will be able to take the majority of the requirements off your hands and skilfully guide you through anything you have to complete.

Related topics: Licensing law

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