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 from among current employees. Apprenticeships equip individuals with the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviour they need for specific job roles, future employment and progression.
The benefits for your business:
Hiring an apprentice is a productive and effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.
- 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation
- 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity
- 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service
Other benefits of working with apprentices include:
- you can adapt their training according to the needs of your business
- they’re motivated to learn new skills
- you can expand and upskill your workforce
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 behaviours they need to achieve the apprenticeship with support from the employer. Employers can select a training provider from the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers 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
- a written agreement with providers, 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.
Additional payments and funding which may be available:
The government is offering additional support to organisations with fewer than 50 employees.
- Employers are not required to pay National Insurance Contributions for apprentices under the age of 25 on earnings below the higher tax rate of £827 a week (£43,000 a year).
- £1,000 payment to both the employer and provider when they train a 16-to 18-year-old.
- £1,000 payment to both the employer and provider when they train a 19-to 24-year-old who has previously been in care or who has a local authority education, health and care plan.