ERDF

Investing in a younger workforce

Scott Fletcher is one of the country's leading entrepreneurs, heading up companies with a total valuation in excess of £50m. Scott founded what is now his largest business, ANS Group, from his back bedroom in 1996 at the young age of 22 and was recently named Entrepreneur of the Year for the North West at the National Business Awards. Scott tells us why business owners need to hire apprentices – for the good of their own business and for that of the wider economy.

If I had one piece of advice for business owners right now it would be this: hire apprentices. In an ideal world every company in the country would have 10% of their workforce as apprentices so why is this not the case? The benefits of employing young people in this way are huge and apply to both the future growth of your business and wider society.

ANS have always employed apprentices and every experience that we’ve had with them has been overwhelmingly positive. When you empower a young person and give them the room and guidance to grow, they flourish and bring fantastic value to your business while developing the skills needed for a long and successful career in a difficult market place. On average, people holding a level two apprenticeship earn £78,000 more over their lifetime than those without. People with an advanced apprenticeship earn over £100,000 more than those without. Not only is there a benefit to the individual but the companies themselves also benefit, with recent statistics confirming that apprentices are more likely to remain loyal to their company and commonly do better than graduates who tend to join the workforce much later and can have the attitude that the world owes them a job.

The difficult economic conditions, and the gloomy predictions of negligible growth for the next few years, will have the most impact on young people. As entrepreneurs and business leaders striving to build sustainable growth I believe that we have a responsibility to help where we can to offer opportunities to the younger generation. After all, their taxes will pay for our nursing home fees once we’ve all lost the plot!

It’s win win; if every company in the country worked to this 10% rule then youth unemployment would be a thing of the past. And we would all benefit from the youthful enthusiasm that they bring to our organisations. There are some great people out there, the people that will drive UK business for years to come. We just need to take a chance on them and give them a reason to get away from the Xbox and the television.

Scott Fletcher is one of the country's leading entrepreneurs, heading up companies with a total valuation in excess of £50m. Scott founded what is now his largest business, ANS Group, from his back bedroom in 1996 at the young age of 22 and was recently named Entrepreneur of the Year for the North West at the National Business Awards. ANS Group is a technology solutions company specialising in the provision of hardware, software and 24/7 managed services.

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