Apprenticeships traditionally have three key stakeholders. A business, a training provider and an apprentice. Now it’s possible to train across two businesses. What are the advantages for the apprentice and how might this work in practice? Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Ambassador SURE Solutions gives their initial opinions.

A proposed change to apprenticeships in the last budget sees the opportunity for apprentices to train in two companies. This is intended to make apprenticeships more affordable for smaller businesses and to widen the experience for apprentices.  SURE Solutions, an Industrial refrigeration specialist in Birkenhead, has apprentices playing in front line engineering and back office business operations. They are innovative with a flexibility of learning approach for their apprentices. We asked Operations Director, Craig Shaw for his initial impressions of training apprentices across two businesses.

“I can see benefits for an apprentice and two businesses involved in a shared apprenticeship, but also some issues that need to be thought through carefully when considering the practicalities of how this would work. It’s important that an apprentice has a coherent apprenticeship across two organisations, both in terms of the skills they acquire and the business environment,” says Craig.

SURE Solutions appreciate some of the issues a two business apprenticeship arrangement should consider more than most. Their current apprentice Josh is gaining welding skills working for a month every 3 months with a fabrication supplier they have a long standing relationship with. This arrangement aims to provide Josh with an additional welding qualification and gives the business welding capability for small projects.

“This arrangement works perfectly as it gives Josh a qualification through the apprenticeship scheme and a further one in welding separate to the scheme. It also illustrates that it is important to have a good understanding of the business ethos of any partner you are sharing training with together with who will employ the apprentice at the end of the training. This needs to be established before an apprentice is recruited and an apprentice needs to understand that relationship before they accept the role,” suggests Craig.

Having a similar management ethos across the two companies sharing an apprenticeship is important for the businesses and the apprentice. “We play a very active role in managing our apprenticeships and co-development. An apprentice needs consistency in management style company ethos and values. Otherwise it will be very confusing for them and potentially detrimental to each business,” believes Craig.

So would SURE Solutions entertain an apprenticeship shared between two companies? “Not for our core skill sets, but we would for management functions such as marketing, web design or HR. These are roles and skills that would not compromise our competitiveness in a specialist market. I think this initiative is designed for small companies who wish to share the cost of an apprenticeship and then possibly create a part time position to employ them. Apprentices should check these details out before summiting to a shared apprenticeship arrangement,” advises Craig.

The Apprenticeship Support Team by Be More provides friendly impartial information and support on Apprenticeships in the Liverpool City Region.