Apprenticeship Week- get all the info you need - British Florist Association

Apprenticeship Week- get all the info you need

National Apprenticeship Week will be celebrated from 6th – 12th of February 2023. The theme for this year is ‘Skills for Life’. National Apprenticeship Week brings together the entire apprenticeship community to celebrate everything that is amazing about apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships in Floristry

An Apprenticeship is a smart, cost-effective way to recruit a new staff member. Above all, it means you can train someone to work in a way that suits your operation. Businesses of all sizes look to recruit Apprentices as they help bring a fresh perspective and set of skills to the workforce.

If, as an Apprentice, you are successful in securing an Apprenticeship with an employer, you will be considered a full-time employee and will have the same benefits as one.

Information for the Employer:

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

The Apprenticeship Levy is a tax on employers implemented in April 2017 with the intention of aiding employers with staff training via Apprenticeships.

The tax is 0.5% of their total wage bill and is paid through P.A.Y.E to HMRC. Funds are held in a digital pot which can then be utilised for Apprentice recruitment and upskilling of existing staff. 

Who pays into the Apprenticeship Levy?

The levy requires all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3 million each year, to invest in apprenticeships, which means that less than 2% of UK employers contribute to it.

Businesses with an annual wage bill less than £3 million will have the cost of Apprenticeships partially funded by the government. The government will contribute 95% of the fees and your business will pay only 5%.  Most floristry businesses will fall into this category.

In addition, businesses with less than 50 employees who employ apprentices aged 18 and under will have the full cost of their training funded by the government.

Once you have chosen a Training Provider for your apprenticeship, they will be able to help you get the most out of your Apprenticeship and will be able to provide advice and guidance on:

  • recruiting new Apprentices
  • upskilling existing staff via Apprenticeships
  • improving staff retention
  • futureproofing your teams

For the Apprentice:

An Apprenticeship is the best of both worlds! Not only will you be employed full-time and earning a wage, but you will also be working towards achieving a full set of qualifications and skills that will benefit you, your employer, and your future career.

To fully appreciate the benefits of being an Apprentice, it’s important that you understand all the different elements of an Apprenticeship.  You will study towards the Knowledge (theory), Skills (practical) and Behaviours (communication) which are essential to your development within the Floristry industry today.

Full-time job and a wage 

As an Apprentice you are entitled to an hourly wage, which must also cover all of your study time attached to your Apprenticeship programme. The minimum Apprenticeship wage is set by the Government; and this wage is paid for the first 12 months of the apprenticeship – after 12 months the correct wage for the apprentices age will be paid. 

When you secure an Apprenticeship, you will be enrolled on a programme of study known as an Apprenticeship Standard. This ‘Standard’ has been designed by a group of leading industry employers to ensure that each Apprentice gains the knowledge, skills and behaviours in order for them to succeed within the floristry industry.

Learning environment and duration

For you to excel in your Apprenticeship, the majority of your training will take place in the workplace; you will be able to develop your skills in a supervised environment and apply what you are learning to your daily routine. As a part of your Apprenticeship, you may be expected to attend college, but this will depend on your training provider (college) and the needs of your employer.

Success stories

Shelly Keefe from BCA College

Shelley Keefe joined BCA Floristry Apprenticeship scheme November 2021 after being offered a role with Kate Thomas at Elder Floral Design. Her enthusiasm and focus was with her from the start – she just needed to believe in her ability. She has a natural talent for Floristry and a great eye for colour and ingredient placement. In February 2022 she enrolled in The World Skill competition with two other students in her class. Shelley got through to the finals and won the accolade of Gold. – Yes GOLD. We are so proud of her here at BCA.

“Having spent the past few years in various work-from-home roles alongside bringing up two children, I was ready for a new challenge, so when the pandemic hit in 2020 it gave me the opportunity to re-evaluate my career prospects. I’ve always been creative and it seemed like the right time to learn a new skill that I could take forward to build a new career.”

How did I end up doing an apprenticeship?

After doing some research into part time college courses and local floristry businesses, I contacted BCA who advised me that the apprenticeship scheme may be a good option for me. I always thought apprenticeships were just for school leavers so I hadn’t considered it an option, but I was so pleased to learn that anyone of any age can enrol in the scheme. BCA put me in touch with local florist Kate Thomas who then offered me a position at her studio, Elder Floral Design. 

Why is it a good route for someone? Tips? What do I enjoy?

Taking the apprenticeship route is the perfect way to learn new skills whilst gaining valuable industry experience on the job. It also means that you are earning while you’re learning, so it makes sense financially too. My college day gives me the chance to experiment with new techniques and build on my knowledge, which I can then apply to my role at work. I have a great tutor and love learning at college, and I also really enjoy working alongside my highly talented colleagues who support my learning by sharing their vast and diverse knowledge and experience with me.

My college experience:

Being a more ‘mature’ student I was nervous as to how my college experience would be, but I needn’t have worried. I felt welcomed and at ease from my very first day and have made some great friendships along the way. I would recommend the apprenticeship scheme to anyone, whether just starting out on their journey into the working world, or embarking on a change of career. Go for it!

Kirsty Noble from The Floristry School Sheffield College

Kirsty has achieved a silver medal in WorldSkills UK

“Thanks to a hugely supportive boss, the team at Fresh Ideas and my tutors, I managed to get through it all.”

“Working in the fine art sector wasn’t for me, however my art practice always involved floral subject matter.”

“I knew that I needed to do something hands-on. I have always learnt best that way. I saw an apprenticeship opportunity and jumped at the chance to do it; it was the perfect fit.”

“Floristry constantly surprises me. I never know what I will be making when I get to work and that is so exciting.”

“Every day is about innovative problem solving and creatively adapting, and I love it. I’ve got my eye on some competitions next year.”

Andrea Borrer from The Floristry School Sheffield College

Andrea has won the Student of the Year Award from The Institute of Professional Florists.

“I have worked in care, supporting adults with autism, since I left school. I still love that job but I had also started feeling it was time for a change.”

“Due to my education background and my lack of qualifications I needed to complete English and maths. The functional skills team supported me through Levels 1 and 2 via the remote learning which I am incredibly grateful for.”

“I have really enjoyed doing the apprenticeship and feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such a wealth of experience with Pauline at Bromborough Flowers, and Jo and Abbie at The Floristry School. They have encouraged me and given me confidence when I have doubted my abilities.”

“The course has been hard work and I still work a couple of days a week as a carer in a residential home. But it has all been worth it. Deciding to retrain at my age is one of the best decisions that I have made in a long time.”

“I would definitely encourage anyone to take up an apprenticeship at any age, because they are not just for the younger generation. You are never too old!”

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