Bringing young people into the business for work experience and apprenticeships requires extra resource in order to provide the right levels of mentoring, training, and line management. But managing a dynamic pool of young people needn’t place an additional burden on HR and Payroll with the right company-wide software in place.

Young people are getting a raw deal: not only do they face higher unemployment levels compared to the national average, but they are locked out of the many entry-level jobs that come with a ‘previous experience required’ tag, which is making it near impossible to get onto the career ladder.

Statistics support this with 29% of employers saying that experience is critical when recruiting young people; and a further 45% say it is significant. It is shocking therefore to learn that only 27% of employers offered the option of work experience in the past year .

By contrast, a recent article by The National Apprenticeship Service said that “new independent research revealed that one in five employers currently have former apprentices working in senior, board-level positions” . It therefore makes good business sense to get people in when they’re young as they can provide long-term value to the organisation.

So what are the other, short-term benefits for organisations offering work placements and apprenticeships? Firstly, the cost of employing young people is much lower: the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for an apprentice currently stands at £2.68 compared to £6.31 for someone aged 21 and over. Secondly, young people can often be flexible with their hours, making them easier to deploy.

This could put extra pressure on HR & Payroll, especially when multiple work placements and apprenticeships are running alongside each other – each with different start and end dates, and different NMW values. Young people are often assigned to different departments, such as shop floor, warehousing or admin, to let them experience the whole business rather than just one aspect of it. If they also work flexible hours, it becomes nigh on impossible to keep track of how many hours a week or month the young people spent in each department.

An integrated HR and Payroll software solution can help reduce this administrative burden by providing valuable business insight at the click of a button. Employee information – such as name, address and pay scale – only needs to be input once and can be integrated with the Payroll system so that processing the wide variety of work placement students and apprentices takes very little time.

With an integrated Time & Attendance (T&A) module, organisations can additionally track young people’s flexible hours and review salary costs split by department such as shop floor or warehousing. When this insight is later analysed alongside department performance, the organisation can get a true picture of the added value that students and apprenticeships bring to the business.

The UK workforce is becoming more and more diverse and work placement and apprenticeships are excellent initiatives to ensure that the younger generation gets a foot on the career ladder, especially in these challenging economic times. The ability to deploy such diverse working models based on one integrated HR & Payroll solution ensures that organisations can continue to work efficiently, while at the same time train the next generation of business leaders and employees.

UK Commission for Employment and Skills (Feb 2014). Not just making tea… Reinventing work experience, p4,

The National Apprenticeship Service (Feb 2014), Apprenticeships vacancies increase by a quarter year on year,