How to take on an apprentice – Introduction
Here we are summarising what an employer needs to do, and the things they need to consider, if they want to employ an apprentice.
Employers should read the guide together with the apprenticeship funding: rules and guidance for employers.
If you would like any further support, you can contact the apprenticeship business support team on 0800 015 0600.
What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a genuine job with an accompanying assessment and skills development programme. It is a way for individuals to earn while they learn, gaining valuable skills and knowledge in a specific job role. The apprentice gains this through a wide mix of learning in the workplace, formal off-the-job training and the opportunity to practise new skills in a real work environment. Apprenticeships benefit employers and individuals, and by boosting the skills of the workforce they help to improve economic productivity.
How do they work?
Apprentices must spend at least 20% of their time on off-the-job training. However, they may need more than this if, for example, they need training in English and maths. It is up to the employer and training provider to decide how the off-the-job training is delivered. It may include regular day release, block release and special training days or workshops. It must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship framework or standard and can be delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work as long as it is not part of their normal working duties. It can cover practical training such as shadowing, mentoring, industry visits and attending competitions. On-the-job training helps an apprentice develop the specific skills for the workplace and they should be supported by a mentor. Once an apprentice completes their apprenticeship they should be able to demonstrate that they can perform tasks confidently and completely to the standard set by industry.
Who are they for?
Individuals over the age of 16, spending at least 50% of their working hours in England over the duration of their apprenticeship and, not in full-time education, can apply for an apprenticeship. Employers can offer apprenticeships to new entrants or use them to grow talent among current employees. Apprenticeships equip individuals with the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviour they need for specific job roles, future employment and progression.
Benefits of hiring apprentices
86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation, while 78 per cent said apprenticeships improved productivity.
Other benefits that apprenticeships contribute towards include:
– increasing employee satisfaction
– reducing staff turnover
– reducing recruitment costs
Terms, conditions and pay
To employ an apprentice, you need to check and meet the following terms and conditions.
Your apprentice should:
- be 16 years old or older; they can be a new or current employee
- work enough paid hours each week to undertake sufficient training to achieve their apprenticeship
We base the minimum duration of each apprenticeship on an apprentice working 30 paid hours a week or more. This includes any off the job training they do.
Off-the-job training is a statutory requirement for an English apprenticeship. It is training which is received by the apprentice, during the apprentice’s normal working hours, for the purpose of achieving the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the approved apprenticeship referenced in the apprenticeship agreement. By normal working hours we mean paid hours excluding overtime.
“It is not on-the-job training which is training received by the apprentice for the sole purpose of enabling the apprentice to perform the work for which they have been employed. By this we mean training that does not specifically link to the knowledge, skills and behaviours set out in the apprenticeship.”
There must be a genuine job available with a contract of employment long enough for an apprentice to complete their apprenticeship. Employers must pay an apprentice’s wages and the role must help them gain the knowledge, skills and behaviour they need to achieve the apprenticeship with support from employers.
Employers can select a training provider from the Register of apprenticeship training providers (ROATP) and agree a total price for the cost of training and assessment. For an apprenticeship standard, this should include the cost of the end-point assessment which must be agreed with the provider selected from the Register of end-point assessment organisations.
Employers need to have:
– an apprenticeship agreement in place with their apprentice for the duration of the apprenticeship – a commitment statement signed by the apprentice, their employer and the provider
For employers who pay the apprenticeship levy and use the apprenticeship service, they will need to have:
– a contract for services with their main provider
– an apprenticeship in place for at least one year
– the apprentice on the correct wage for their age, for the time they are in work, in off-the-job training and doing further study
– apprentices who are paid a wage consistent with the law for the time they are in work and in off-the-job training. Updates on progression and average weekly hours and changes to working patterns must be logged and checked with the training provider. The government is offering additional support to organisations with fewer than 50 employees.
For more details visit: apprenticeships.gov.uk
Funding for your apprenticeship – How funding works if you do not pay the apprenticeship levy
Smaller employers, who do not pay the apprenticeship levy share the cost of training and assessing their apprentices with the government. This is called ‘co-investment’.
For new apprenticeships starting on or after 1 April 2019 you pay 5% towards the cost of apprenticeship training. The government will pay the rest (95%) up to the funding band maximum which is £5000.00 for floristry.
All apprenticeships that started before 1 April 2019 will continue at the previous co-investment rate of 10%.
You can pay the difference from your own budget if the price of training is more than the funding band maximum.
As a smaller employer, you can reserve funds in the ‘finance’ section of your apprenticeship service account. You can also give your training provider permission to reserve them on their behalf.
Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
We have set out the information for apprenticeship funding in England.
Apprentices must spend at least 50% of their working hours in England and have the right to work in England.
If you’re an employer in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you may also wish to contact your local apprenticeship authority in the devolved administrations.