· 2 min read · Features

The benefits of tech apprenticeships for SMEs


Getting ahead in the digital race – or even just keeping up – is an issue for many smaller businesses. But without the necessary tech talent it can feel like a losing battle

Research from the Tech Partnership has revealed that the UK needs 134,000 new tech specialists every year, and two in five companies seeking to recruit tech specialists say it is hard to fill vacancies. This shortage of digital talent means SMEs must use every means available to get the skills they need to grow. If your business is facing a digital recruitment challenge it’s worth ensuring you’re aware of how taking on a tech apprentice could benefit your business now and in the future.

Lower upfront costs

Thanks to renewed government funding for SMEs looking to take on apprentices you can access up to 100% of the cost of training an apprentice, depending on their age. And an apprentice salary will reflect their trainee status, so you’ll pay significantly less than for a graduate burdened with thousands of pounds of university debt.

Immediate impact

Training providers, particularly those accredited by Tech Industry Gold, can work with you to ensure you quickly experience return on investment for your new recruit. They will help with everything from developing tailored training programmes to sourcing and recruiting high quality candidates. Apprentices can fill roles in areas including software development, database development, technical support and digital marketing.

Aspiring tech specialists from the millennial generation are ‘digital natives’ with a close understanding of the social media tools younger audiences use. For example, using Instagram to increase awareness of your business might not come naturally to an older candidate, but would be familiar to someone who has lived digital from a very young age. An apprenticeship is a quick way to bring sought-after skills into the business.

Long-term benefits

Bringing in a tech apprentice can also free up current employees to grow other parts of your organisation. If staff are running the digital aspect of the business alongside their usual roles bringing in a tech-savvy apprentice to own those responsibilities will allow them to focus on other priorities, potentially saving time and boosting revenue.

By making a long-term investment in an individual you also get the opportunity to mould their skillset to suit your business needs, which could help drive future success. According to the National Apprenticeship Service, hiring a tech apprentice could even attract new customers. Its research shows that more than 80% of people are more likely to use a business if it offers apprenticeships to young people.

There is an abundance of tech-savvy young people across the UK waiting to make use of their energy, enthusiasm and fresh ideas. Tapping into their skills could be just what your company needs to grow, win new business, and stay competitive in a digital age.

John Pritchard is head of apprenticeships on behalf of the Tech Partnership