Leasing Apprentices Through the ATA Model.
What it is the ATA Model I hear you asking? Well you’d be forgiven for not knowing; not many people have ever heard of it. But for those that have, and for those that use it, the benefits to their schools are significant. Effectively, the school leases the apprentice for a set period of time, and the ATA (the actual employer) offers a lot of extra support to ensure high levels of motivation.
Why would a school lease an apprentice? Well that are several reasons and they are all positive. Firstly, let’s start with the recruitment element – an ATA’s entire model relies upon finding employers (such as schools) that will host apprentices. So an ATA is therefore highly motivated to find you a suitable apprentice. Further to this point, an ATA will offer additional support to that apprentice to make sure that they are motivated at all times and continue to stay in the placement. Given the additional support they receive from the ATA, the apprentice is highly likely to see out the apprenticeship and progress onto the next thing – I will talk about that later.
Secondly, it reduces your employment liability and doesn’t add to your headcount. The apprentice is employed by the ATA, not by your school. The ATA will manage things such as employment contracts, payroll, holiday allowance, time-off, disciplinaries and warnings and anything else relating to statutory employment duties. In the unlikely event that the apprentice isn’t quite working out (for whatever reason), you have a quick means to getting rid of them; a good ATA will offer a replacement service.
And finally, you are doing a great thing for society by giving a young person a job! It is important to note that apprentices can of course be any age, but in the 5 years I have operated an ATA, I can say that for the most part (90%+), our apprentices are aged 16 to 20. Apprenticeships are an amazing way for young people to enter the workforce and gain valuable skills, and they are a particularly important for young young people that might not be able to go to university or have another way into the workforce.
I mentioned progression earlier – so what happens at the end of the ATA placement? There are 3 options:
Option 1: Employ the apprentice directly; you simply take them on as an employee.
Option 2: Continue to lease the apprentice by extending your contract with the ATA. You will need to work out with the apprentice and the ATA if a further training programme can be bolted on, either a higher level apprenticeship or some other form of training and development.
Option 3: The fixed-term contract ends and you have no further obligation to the apprentice or the ATA. Whilst it is rare for the relationships to end just like that, there are of course occasions where budgets change, or perhaps you want to offer the opportunity to another apprentice. Either way, you are in control.
Why is the ATA Model such a good solution during this time of pandemic?
Schools need support staff at the best of times, but this demand is increasing with the sad reality that teachers and support staff are having to isolate for 14 days when they show symptoms of Covid-19. This of course creates further timetabling challenges and costs, particularly when using supply teacher agencies. A greater pool of support staff is of paramount importance to keeping the school operating effectively and ensuring the continuation of teaching and learning.
Whilst many schools will be unfamiliar with the ATA Model, it provides an additional resource to the recruitment of your support staff. And very often with no commitment – if you don’t like the candidates put in front of you, you don’t have to take them on. However, an ATA is highly motivated to put good quality in front of you.
We are currently seeing more demand than ever before; with youth unemployment levels soaring at an incredible rate, there are a lot of excellent candidates out there, keen to start an apprenticeship and be given an opportunity.