Chris Darling, Operations Director, MRM Solutions

Can your SME benefit from hiring an apprentice?

North East electrical company, MRM Solutions, understand the benefits of working with apprentices, having relied upon them as an integral part of the work force since the company was founded over ten years ago.

Here, Operations Director, Chris Darling, dismisses the stereotypes and outlines the key benefits that apprentices can bring to any business.

A recent government report identified that apprenticeship participation is at an all-time high, with over 490,000 new apprentice starts in the 2016/2017 academic year, and with these figures set to rise, there’s no better time to recruit an apprentice worker. But, with misguided stereotypes disturbing how apprentices are viewed in a profession environment, is it surprising that so many UK businesses are reluctant to introduce the scheme?

Chris Darling shuns this idea saying, “Regardless of the industry your business operates in, with the right guidance, apprentices have the potential to thrive as productive and loyal members of the workforce. Whilst young apprentices will need to adapt from the school environment, to a professional one, this should not act as a deterrent for employers.”

A common problem faced by most trade based industry’s is finding the right employee with the right skills to suit the role. Often business processes are so unique, it is more efficient to mould a young employee to align with your company’s culture from the get-go. Positioning more advanced, junior employees as mentors to new apprentices can have a significant impact on their personal and professional development. Allowing existing employees to hone their management and delegation skills, so they can advance in the business.

Chris advises “Having worked my way up from an apprentice to a company director, I believe that training others increases knowledge, professionalism and confidence. By giving a junior employee shared responsibility for a trainee, you can unveil their business potential and determine whether they are worth investing in”.

Apprentices should not be labelled as a burden, businesses should see the scheme as grounds for business development, giving both experienced employees and trainee’s the opportunity to excel in the workplace by taking on new responsibilities and challenges.

Chris continues “At MRM, our experience of employing apprentices has been entirely positive. The scheme has been a driving force in the company’s growth from a 2-man-band, to becoming one of the largest electrical engineering firms in the North East.”

Whilst apprentice schemes were once only available in large corporations, the introduction of the Apprentice Levy in March 2017 has made their funding more sustainable for businesses in their infancy. The new scheme enables companies paying out less than £3million annually on wages to receive 90% of the costs towards the associated fees.

Any employer taking on apprentices aged 16-18 will receive a lump sum of £1000 to support training. And in addition, employers no longer pay national insurance for apprentices younger than 25. This government aid makes apprentices a cost-effective way to expand your work force.

Chris explains “Even with support from government schemes, I still hear small businesses questioning whether it’s worth hiring young apprentices, because of the time needed for training. We see our apprentices as assets to our business and view their training as a long-term investment into both our company’s and our employee’s futures”.

Apprentice schemes are said to increase employee satisfaction and reduce staff turnover. Chris agrees, stating “almost all of our apprentices have remained with the company since graduating from the scheme. Showing employees that there is room for growth and development within the company keeps them motivated and encourages company loyalty.”

Training apprentices from scratch gives businesses the opportunity to form the individuals working nature from day one, ensuring that their methods and ideologies are 100% tailored to your company’s culture and business requirements. According to the National Apprenticeship Service apprenticeships benefit employers by boosting the skills of the workforce, closing the skills gap and thus improving economic productivity.

Now is the time to reject the negative associations that have tarnished the humble apprentices’ name for too long, and embrace these individuals as the future of your company!

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Since the call here seems to include Mind the Quality,
in which ways should quality be defined and...

Abertay has published a new article: How do I qualify as a First Aid Trainer? yesterday
FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter yesterday

The latest podcasts from FE News for 10/16/2021 -
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page