Recruiting and retaining staff can be challenging, and an increasing number of employers are turning to apprenticeships to help grow their workforce.

Rob Muncaster, who owns an electrical service business in Sunderland, said: “We have always been pro-active in recruiting apprentices – traditionally it’s the best way for people to learn a trade and it’s a great way for us to grow our own talent.

“Two of our current team started off as Electrical Installation Apprentices, who we’ve since kept on as full-time employees, and I’m hopeful we’ll be able to do the same with our current apprentice.”

Suzanne Morton, who runs Little Jems Nursery in Houghton-Le-Spring, decided to recruit a Childcare Apprentice a few years ago. The business took off, allowing her client base to grow, and since then she has employed a further three apprentices.

She said: “These apprenticeships have been extremely valuable assets to our nursery setting. They have allowed us to ‘home grow’ and upskill our team, creating dedicated and committed professionals.

“Apprenticeships have been a crucial part of our success and I would encourage all businesses to consider them.”

Why hire an apprentice?

Education Partnership North East (EPNE) is one of the largest apprenticeship providers in the North East. Hiring an apprentice is a productive and effective way for any business to grow talent, train your existing staff, and develop a motivated, skilled, and qualified workforce.

Peter Robertson, Head of Business Development at the EPNE said: “Apprenticeships have evolved massively over the last few years and more and more businesses are recognising that hiring an apprentice can support them in growing their business.

“Taking on an apprentice can be daunting for an employer so we offer a full start to end recruitment service, free of charge, ensuring they that get the right candidate.”

There are many benefits to taking on an apprentice, including:

  • Growing your own talent – By tailoring the training to your business needs, you can grow your own talent and fill a skills gap efficiently.
  • Providing new energy – An apprentice is motivated and eager to learn and can bring a new energy to your business, which will have a positive effect on existing staff.
  • Making a real difference – An apprentice is contributing to your workplace while they are learning and gaining skills on-the-job. They can add value to your business as soon as they start.
  • Motivating staff- Apprenticeships are a great way to motivate your existing staff by investing in their development and supporting them in gaining industry specific skills and national recognised qualifications.
  • Developing a workforce for the future – Training apprentices can provide you with a skilled workforce for the future and can be much more cost-effective than hiring experienced staff.
  • Bringing fresh ideas – Apprentices can bring fresh new ideas to your business and keep your business up to date with the latest techniques and technology – increasing your competitiveness, innovation, and productivity.

Mesma, a quality and software advisory organisation for education, now employ a number of apprentices in a variety of different roles. Managing Director Louise Doyle said: “I’m a real advocate of apprenticeships, they offer a great way to grow your organisation, and our apprentices bring fresh ideas and new perspectives to our business.

“Evan, our Sales Executive Apprentice, really supported us to develop our business sales model. I’d recommend to employers looking at recruiting to consider whether an apprentice could be a good fit for them.”

If you would like to find out more about how apprenticeships can benefit your business, email

Why Education Partnership North East (EPNE)?

Highly commended - Employer of the Year, Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2019

Engagement with Employers - Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award 2017

(Sunderland College On-programme Survey 2017)

Selected by DfE for 2021 T Level pilot to deliver the new high-quality technical qualifications.

98% overall employer satisfaction - Employer Survey 2018/19