Schemes SMEs can use to support young people in their professional development.

You may have heard about our new HR Apprentice Ethan from our previous posts. We wanted Ethan to share his experiences to help show students and SMEs the benefits of supporting young people in their professional development.

My Experience – Ethan Fowler, HR Apprentice at WeDo HR Support

I recently started an apprenticeship in HR. I have just completed my A levels and I am working for WeDo HR Support in my gap year. I have really enjoyed my experience so far as I have been able to start to understand the way in which multiple businesses run and the issues, they have from an HR perspective. I am learning about the specific policies and procedures that businesses put in place to be ethical Employers. As I will be studying psychology next year I find the differing approaches, cultures and impacts fascinating.

The business is also benefiting from my apprenticeship by gaining government funding, saving costs on recruitment, and securing the best new talent and an extra pair of eager to learn hands.

Anyone can benefit from an apprenticeship, but funding levels change after age 24, you can study several different levels of apprenticeship qualification:

  • L2 intermediate apprenticeship (GCSE)
  • L3 advanced apprenticeship (A Level)
  • L4+ higher level apprenticeship
  • L5-7degree level apprenticeship

The different levels allow people of all ages and backgrounds to be able to apply and work for a qualification.

Another benefit of an apprenticeship, especially for young people is the exposure to a real-life working environment, this has enabled me to think more critically and working with a range of different people has started to improve my communication skills. In addition, I am earning a salary whilst gaining another qualification. Generally, as an apprentice your salary tends to increase as the level of qualification increases.

There are a range of different schemes that the government, education providers and employers offer to encourage young people to keep learning and earning, these include: kickstarter, apprenticeship, Internship and Graduate and post graduate support.


The Kickstarter scheme provides funding to create new jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for this funding which covers:

Use this link to find out more information about the kickstart scheme

A friend of mine who lost her job during lockdown has been able to get a new job on this scheme and complete her nursery nurse training. She is really enjoying the scheme and finds the balance of work and education just right.


An apprenticeship is a real job where you learn, gain experience and get paid. You’re an employee with a contract of employment and paid holiday. By the end of an apprenticeship, you’ll have the right skills and knowledge needed for your chosen career. To do an apprenticeship, you need to be over the age of 16 and not in full time education. Interested businesses should get in contact with a local college or use this link to find out how business can benefit from funding


An internship is a period of work experience, offered by an organisation, lasting for a fixed period anywhere between a week and 12 months. Internships are typically undertaken by students and graduates looking to gain relevant skills. Anyone can be eligible to be an intern but it’s most common for degree students to take an internship for 1 year before going back to study for their degree. Use this link to find out more: Internships in the UK

I am working with Lauren who is studying psychology at the University of Surrey. Lauren has been an intern at WeDo HR Support for nearly 12 months and will be going back to complete her degree in September.

‘My placement year at WeDo HR Support has been a great opportunity in advancing my personal and professional development. I’ve learnt a lot throughout the past year and I am excited to return to pursue a career in the field of HR once I have finished university’ – Lauren Binder, HR Intern at WeDo HR Support

If you are looking to improve your Diversity & Inclusion, consider getting involved with a scheme which is transforming the horizons and prospects of young black people in the UK by offering paid work experience across a wide range of industries.

Graduate sponsorship

When your employer pays for your enrolment in a degree or master’s degree course. Companies sponsor the person to complete the degree, the best-known example of this is perhaps the Armed Forces. Businesses can also fund your degree through a degree level apprenticeship if they think you have good potential. Often the business will contract with you to work for them for several years post your graduation so that they are recouping the cost of funding your degree.

Young people and SME Benefits

There are many schemes supporting young people in their professional development. All of which provide unique benefits that can help an individual depending on what situation they’re in.

  • Kickstarter targets disadvantaged people getting them into jobs and reducing unemployment levels.
  • Apprenticeships are for people of all ages and educational background (L2-L7) and additional funding is available at the moment.
  • Internships allow the intern to build a set of effective skills that can be utilized in the workplace as opposed to only having educational skills. This enhances employability and benefits interns with great experience.
  • Finally graduate and post graduate sponsorship schemes allow people of all ages to gain business sponsorship to achieve a higher level of education and specialist knowledge which is critical to employers.

If you are interested in any of these schemes but are not sure where to start, give us a buzz!

Ethan Fowler

HR Apprentice at WeDo HR Support.

Give us a buzz: 0330 900 8787