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Are you ready for an apprentice?

With GCSE and A level results recently released, many teenagers will be looking to start their careers through apprentice schemes. With 22% of the construction workforce over 50 and 15% in their 60s, hiring apprentices could help plug any skills shortages.1 78% of employers who hire an apprentice report improved productivity and 90% of apprentices stay on, after completing an apprenticeship.2 

If you decide to hire an apprentice there are a few things to consider, perhaps most importantly whether they’re properly protected. Health and safety is something that people of all ages must take seriously, especially when they’re new to a role.3

Last year there were 555,000 non-fatal injuries at work, this totalled 30.7m working days being lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury.4 It’s worth taking note of these numbers, as apprentices can potentially be some of the most vulnerable employees in your workforce.

It’s crucial you take appropriate action to assess the risks and implement steps to protect all workers whatever their age.

Our top tips to help protect your apprentices

  • Carry out risk assessments

    Consider the level of risk your apprentices may be exposed to while working for you. It may be necessary for you to carry out a separate risk assessment or take special measures. You’ll owe them a greater duty of care than an experienced staff member, and they should be treated and protected accordingly.
  • Check your insurances

    Make sure your Employers Liability insurance covers your apprentices. You are required by law to have Employers’ Liability insurance for people who you employ under a contract of service or apprenticeship.
  • Implement a training programme

    Ensure an effective apprenticeship training program is in place, which can include appropriate training for working at height and the use of lifting equipment.
  • Adhere to safety regulations

    There are specific regulations that require your premises and equipment to be in a safe condition. This can be achieved by regular reviews of your health and safety processes. This means routinely checking the condition of the building and equipment, reviewing safety procedures and risk assessments, including protective clothing.

Taking on an apprentice might sound like a challenge, but it could also be very rewarding. Having the right procedures, training and safety measures in place can help your apprentices feel confident about working for you. Getting it right from the start can help you reap the reward from your new found workforce.

Sources:
1https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/tackling_the_construction_skills_shortage
2https://www.apprenticeships.gov.uk/employer/benefits
3http://www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/
4http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overall/hssh1718.pdf

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