If you're an employer looking to hire an apprentice, you may have questions about the process and what it entails. To help answer some of your questions, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions that we hear from employers like you. Browse through the questions to learn more about the benefits of apprenticeships, the process for hiring an apprentice, and what you can expect as an employer.
Apprenticeships are a great way of developing your skills and achieving a recognised qualification, workplace experience and earning a salary. The apprentice gains this through a broad mix of learning in the workplace, formal off-the-job training and the opportunity to practise new skills in a real work environment. Apprenticeship training will also benefit employers and individuals, by developing skills within the workforce.
The Government’s A_guide_to_apprenticeships.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk) includes how apprenticeships work, what they are, the benefits to you, how to find the right opportunity.
Apprentices must spend at least 6 hours per week 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. It can be delivered at the apprentice’s usual place of work as long as it is not part of their regular duties. It can cover practical training such as shadowing, mentoring, industry visits and attending competitions. On-the-job training helps an apprentice develop specific skills for the workplace, and a mentor should support them. Once an apprentice completes their apprenticeship, they should be able to demonstrate that they can perform tasks confidently and entirely to the standard set by the industry.
Off-the-job training is learning that is undertaken outside the typical day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship. This can include training delivered at the apprentice’s usual place of work but must not be provided as part of their regular duties.
Take a look at the myth-busting fact sheet attached.
Standards were introduced in 2017 to replace frameworks in all sectors by 2020. A standard contains a list of the skills, knowledge and behaviours an apprentice will need to have learned by the end of their apprenticeship. Standards are occupation-focused; they are not qualification-led. The learning happens throughout the apprenticeship. And the apprentice is assessed at the end. They must prove that they can carry out all aspects of their job. They develop transferable skills and gain credibility too.
All apprentices undertaking a standard need to pass an End Point Assessment (EPA) before they’re awarded their qualification.
An End Point Assessment (EPA) is the final step in the apprenticeship journey for employers and apprentices. The assessment allows apprentices to demonstrate that they’ve developed all the competencies (skills), knowledge and behaviours outlined in the Standard to prove they can do the job they’ve been training for throughout their programme. The End Point Assessment will be different; it depends on the qualification.
Apprenticeships are not ‘just for young people’ – anyone can study for an apprenticeship, if they meet the key criteria. In April 2017, eligibility rules were altered to allow individuals to undertake apprenticeships at a similar or lower level than any previous qualifications they held, making it easier for people to retrain in a new field.
Yes, Apprenticeship Framework & Standard qualifications are not just for recruiting apprentices into your business. Many companies use Apprenticeship programmes to upskill their existing employees and include them as part of their learning and development scheme and CPD.
There is no upper age limit. Apprentices must be 16 years old when they begin their apprenticeship and are eligible to live and work in England.
All apprentices must be paid at least the Apprenticeship National Minimum Wage relevant to their age. Existing employees that become an apprentice would maintain the same terms and conditions of employment, with the addition of the Apprenticeship Agreement.
An employee’s status as an apprentice affects the minimum wage you can pay, but there’s no upper limit. Many of our apprentices receive pay rises and promotions prior to completing their course due to strong performance.
This depends on the programme you choose and whether your company is paying the Apprenticeship Levy or not.
If you’re not paying the Apprenticeship Levy, you pay just 5% of the total cost of apprenticeship training – the government co-invests the other 95% for you. If you are a non-levy paying employer, have less than 50 employees, and the employee/new apprentice who is enrolling is 16-18 you will receive 100% funding.
The government has introduced the apprenticeship levy to help fund three million new apprenticeships by 2020. The levy has been applied to all industries in the UK. As a result, this applies to the largest UK employers at a rate of 0.5 per cent of their wage bill, being collected through PAYE.
The new apprenticeship reforms have brought with them some exciting employer incentives, to find out more information, please visit our Funding & Costs page.
Hiring an apprentice is a productive and effective way for any business to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.
Employers with an established apprenticeship programme reported that productivity in their workplace had improved by 76%, while 75% said that apprenticeships improved the quality of their product or service.
Other benefits that apprenticeships contribute to include:
A genuine job must be 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 behaviours they need to achieve the apprenticeship with support from the employer.
Employers need to have the following:
The government has reformed the way apprenticeships are delivered and funded in England. Its ambition is to increase the number of high-quality apprenticeships that meet the needs of employers.
As part of the reforms, apprenticeships are more rigorous, better structured, independently assessed and more clearly aligned with the needs of employers. The reforms address the skills shortages reported by many industries and help keep the UK internationally competitive. Most importantly, apprenticeships offer high-quality opportunities for people to develop their talents and progress in their careers.
Recent legislation has come into effect which changes the minimum English and maths requirements needed to complete an apprenticeship for people with a learning difficulty or disability. The changes will lower these apprentices’ English and maths requirements to an Entry Level 3 qualification. It will make completing an apprenticeship more achievable for those who can meet all the occupational needs to be fully competent in their role but who may struggle to achieve English and maths qualifications at the level usually required.
‘T levels’ are new technical study programmes that will sit alongside apprenticeships from September 2020. The reforms are at the heart of a skills partnership between government, business and training providers – a partnership that will create the skills revolution needed to meet the needs of our business and education and training providers – a partnership that will make the skills revolution needed to meet the needs of our economy. The government is doubling the annual level of apprenticeship spending between 2010 to 2011 and 2019 to 2020 to £2.5bn, which the new apprenticeship levy will fund.
Yes, you can hire as many apprentices as you want – there’s no limit.
Smart Training and Recruitment can meet with you to discuss your business needs and create a bespoke/tailored training package. Our dedicated consultants will also maintain regular contact with you to support the delivery of training and ensure that your workforce is being developed effectively.
Transfers are being introduced to give levy-paying employers more flexibility in spending their apprenticeship service funds. They can now be used to fund apprenticeships in another organisation. Funds will be transferred monthly for the duration of the apprenticeship. This means that levy-paying employers can work with another employer to help them take on apprentices, increasing the skills base in their supply chain, sector or local area.
Unlike many other training providers, our courses are delivered at your workplace without requiring learners to leave their place of work to complete the course.
Once an apprentice completes their course, you can decide whether you wish to continue employing them as a full-time member of staff. If you choose to do so, you will be required to increase their salary to that of a full-time member of staff in-line with standard NMW requirements. If you would like to continue training your apprentice, you can enrol them on a further training course at a higher level.
Once your employee has finished their course, they will receive their certificates to certify their course completion. If you would like to continue training your employees, you can enrol them on a further training course at a higher level.