When it comes to hiring inexperienced staff, many business leaders are open to the idea of hiring in some extra help to the next generation of workers: Interns, Work Experience Placements or Apprentices are all considered and for many the terms seem interchangeable. But if you’re interested in hiring any of these routes, you need to understand the key features of each in order to work out which is right for you. 

Here are some of the key features of each:

Type Purpose Length of engagement Entitlement
Work Experience Often created for those students still at school, work experience students  learn about a business by shadowing them or helping out.   Short term - often 1 or 2 weeks Tend to be students c. 16 or younger so exempt for the National Minimum Wage.
Internship Students who are attending higher education may spend time with an employer, learning about the business as part of a higher education course or getting a feel for the type of business or industry they want to be a part of. Short term - a few weeks to a few months Normally graduates who may be entitled to the National Minimum Wage if they are promised further work. Travel and/ or subsistence expenses recommended.
Volunteering To provide opportunities for individuals to work with a charity or voluntary body, there is no particular demographic this group covers and there will normally be no specific duties assigned by the employer. Short term to long term No entitlement to the National Minimum Wage.
Apprentices To provide students or school leavers with an opportunity to complete a qualification whist learning about a business or trade. Apprenticeships are set up within a framework provided by a Learning Provider. Long term - often up to a year Minimum wage from as low as £3.30 per hour for those under 19 or in their first year as an apprentice, rising in some parts of the UK where there is hefty competition for these individuals.

As a bonus however, small businesses can often claim up to £1500 in funding for these.

For any of the types of work placement above which are unpaid, it’s not to say that you shouldn’t contribute anything to their daily grind however, and most progressive employers pay either a weekly allowance or subsistence costs plus travel for those where they have no legal obligation.   

Regardless of pay or title, with anyone working on your premises, you will have a responsibility for their health & safety whilst in your care and you need to make sure that you have sufficient liability insurance to cover them.

Employ 5 people or less? Congratulations, no need to undertake a specific risk assessment. However above that and it’s expected that you will be expected to identify the particular needs of the individuals by undertaking a risk assessment as you would normally in regards to any Health and Safety aspects.

There are numerous ways you can start to offer these opportunities and getting them set up for success and for more ideas, see our post earlier this year on How To Get The Most Out Of Your Work Placement.

If you have concerns or want help hiring and onboarding your newbies, then we can help. Get in touch today athello@thehrhub.co.uk or by calling 0203 627 7048 to arrange an initial, no-obligation consultation. We’ll pinpoint any potential issues that are at play in your workplace, and give you practical advice around what you need to do next.

TheHRhub: The ultimate HR support for startups and SMEs.

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