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Build your business future and nurture Skills for Life with Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are for employers of all sizes and sectors and people of all ages, education levels and backgrounds – there’s opportunities for all. As we approach National Apprenticeship Week #NAW23 from 6th February - 12th February, we’re focusing on the positive impact that Apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses, and communities here in Greater Manchester, and we’re championing this year’s theme ‘Skills for Life’, and the alignment with our offering here at Skills for Growth, as we help businesses to develop a talented workforce that is equipped with skills for the future.  


What is an Apprenticeship?  

Working as an apprentice means that you earn while you learn. An apprentice works in a real job 80% of their time and spends the remaining 20% of their working hours training. This structure leads to a rewarding career as it develops the skills, knowledge and access to expertise gained from working alongside experienced staff.  

As an apprentice, at least 20% of your normal working hours must be spent on training. Your training might happen every week, every month or in a separate block of time. 

Apprenticeships must be over 16 years of age, live in the UK and not in full time education.  

  • Are an employee earning a wage and getting holiday pay  
  • Work alongside experienced staff 
  • Gain job-specific skills  
  • Get time for training and study related to your role (at least 20% of working hours)  


Apprenticeship Industries 


6 Reasons why you should choose an Apprenticeship for your business.  

Businesses are re-evaluating their approach to recruitment because of effects of skills gaps and the economy. With their cost efficiencies and contribution to the business, apprenticeships are being considered by more UK businesses, including SMEs.   


Jon-Paul Rimington, Managing Director of GC Education & Skills says

"We listen to what businesses are telling us and respond to their demands by creating courses that will help students and their employers.  There's a real drive for digital skills and understanding how we can better equip people with them to re-enter the modern workplace. 
"A lot of employers are really looking for middle-management level skills. We've got courses on project management for non-project managers, we have our Powering Up Professional Skills courses as well. 

Apprenticeships have evolved and increased promotion of the benefits have helped to dispel obstacles and barriers e.g.  

  • Apprenticeships are only for the young  
  • Apprenticeships are for ‘hands-on’ jobs like construction
  • You can only be paid an apprentice wage  
  • Apprenticeships are only entry level qualifications  
  • You can’t do an apprenticeship if I’m already in work
  • Off the job training is inflexible  

They’re a worthwhile way to help businesses to nurture, invest and develop a talented workforce that is equipped with skills for the future. Government research into the benefits of bringing young apprentices into businesses found that 86% of employers said it helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation, and 78% reported increased productivity across the wider workforce. 

1. Fill Skills Gaps –  Apprenticeships can help to solve the skills gaps within your business, as you’ve got the control to design the apprenticeship so that the training, behaviours, and skills are shaped to suit the needs of your business. A positive approach is to see Apprenticeships as contributing towards the long-term strategy of your business, generating careers whilst generating results for your business.  

2. Increase Staff Retention – offering the opportunity to nurture committed and loyal members of the workforce to achieve a qualification and step into different areas of the business. Rather than moving away from a business that they are happy at, apprenticeships can expand and widen horizons and provide a clearly defined route to changing careers and fulfilling their dreams with their current employers.  

3. Valuable Contributions – With 80% on the job to 20% learning, your business will benefit from an individual who is willing and ready to work hard and learn to achieve a well-rounded career. The tailored on the job training means that the apprenticeship will apply their learnings to the job that they are doing. With increasing University tuition fees, there’s been a steady increase in higher level Apprenticeships since 2019 (Source as they are regarded as an attractive alternative to attending University, with the free training and no student debt!   

4. Diversity across the business – Apprenticeships are open to people of all ages, backgrounds and career levels, which enables employers to develop diversified talent across the business. A fresh approach can improve productivity as apprenticeships offer a different angle, viewpoint and perspective for businesses to consider.   

5. Cost Effective – Save on the time and costs associated with recruitment and acquire fresh talent. There’s Government incentives for employing young talent with a £1000 payment made to the business for 16-18 year olds, the younger less experienced members of the workforce.  

6. Prepare for the future - Apprenticeships are an excellent way to not only bring fresh talent into your business but to provide structured career progression to existing employees. As highlighted above, Apprenticeships are for all levels, from school leavers to people wishing to embark on a higher level L5 – L7 apprenticeship. You’re establishing your management pipeline and succession planning for the future.  


How to get started  

We’re working with Greater Manchester SMEs to bring apprenticeships with ambition with businesses with vision. We’re shining a light on the positive effects of Apprenticeships.  

With our knowledge, expertise, and partners, we’re guiding businesses and individuals in the right direction to benefit from Apprenticeships.  Build the future: Train, Retain and Achieve. 

Here’s our top picks of Apprenticeship opportunities available on the Skills for Growth – SME Support programme and the GM Skills Map.  


Level 3 – Digital Marketing Apprenticeship  - click here 

Level 3 – Assistant Accountancy Apprenticeship  - click here

Level 3 – Junior Content Producer Apprenticeship  - click here

Level 4 – Digital Marketing Apprenticeship - click here 

Level 5 - Leadership and Management - click here

Level 6 Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA) - click here

Level 7 – Senior Leader Apprenticeship - click here




Equivalent Education Level  



5 GCSE passes (grade A*-C or 9-4) 



2 A-Level passes / Level 3 Diploma 


4,5,6 and 7          

Foundation / Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree  


6 and 7 

Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree 


National Apprenticeship Week NAW23 6th February – 12th February 2023 

Find out more as Greater Manchester supports National Apprenticeship Week – here’s what’s going on across the region next week - click here


Support from the Business Growth Hub - Green Skills Academy

GC Education and Skills was listed as one of the Top 50 Training Providers in the country by RateMyApprenticeship in 2022. The education provider also won the Low Carbon Innovator of the Year Award at the National Construction Apprenticeship Awards and Training Company of the Year 2022 at the National Fenestration Awards. 

Jon-Paul Rimington, Managing Director of GC Education & Skills says

"Green skills represent a major part of our future. GC Education and Skills launched the Green Skills Academy in January, supporting the drive to become carbon neutral in GM by 2038. "We're looking at the changing dynamics in working practices across the economy and the UK and how we can help ensure people are ready for that." 
"The Academy offers a Dual Fuel Smart Meter Installation Apprenticeship on which our learners will be able to understand how to install the meters as well as give people a better understanding of their energy usage. We pride ourselves as being seen as an alternative provision to a mainstream college environment. Our sites are smaller in size which can help people that might suffer from anxiety or have concerns about returning to education."



About the author

Skills for Growth - SME Support

Skills for Growth - SME Support

Skills for Growth - SME Support is a fully funded, tailored service to help upskill your employees and improve business productivity.