What is an apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study. Apprentices add value to your organisation by working in a real job, while developing the skills your business needs.
Apprenticeships can be for new recruits or existing staff. Traditional preconceptions that apprentices can only be school leavers or labour-intensive workers are evolving with the introduction of hundreds of employer-designed qualifications, including higher and degree qualifications for skilled professionals. There is no upper age limit for apprenticeships.
Apprentices study towards a qualification, which must be delivered by an approved training provider. Roughly 20% of an apprentice’s working hours are spent on ‘off-the-job training’. This can include classroom study, but can also involve shadowing, mentoring, learning support and time spent writing assignments. Read more about off-the-job training.
Apprenticeships last a minimum of 12 months, but can last up to 5 years for higher and degree apprenticeships. Most apprentices last 1-2 years.
There are over 650 apprenticeship qualifications (called ‘standards’) to choose from - covering Administration, Management, Finance, Digital, Construction, Hospitality plus many more areas. Visit the Institute for Apprenticeships website to see all available qualifications.
Apprenticeships range from Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) to Level 7 (Postgraduate equivalent)
Funding of training costs depends on the size of your business. Businesses with an annual pay bill of £3m or higher pay the Apprenticeship Levy, which gives employers access to training funds for apprentices. 98% of employers do not pay the apprenticeship levy as their pay bill is below £3m per year. For these employers, the government will pay 90% of training costs, with employers making a 10% contribution. Employers can also receive transfers from levy-paying employers to cover the full cost of training. Read more about apprenticeship funding.
Apprentices’ salaries must be paid by the employer. The national minimum wage for apprentices is £3.70 for apprentices aged under 19, or older apprentices in the first year of their apprenticeship. We recommend a minimum of £7.50 per hour to enable you to attract and retain the best candidates. You are eligible for a £1,000 grant if you employ an apprentice aged 16-18, or a 19-24 year old who has been in care, or has special educational needs.
"Hackney Council have been extremely supportive in helping St John at Hackney launch our Heritage Apprenticeship. The council assisted with finding a training provider, recruitment and with management and support - their involvement has been invaluable. St John at Hackney has hired an apprentice to work on our National Lottery Heritage Funded Restoration project - they will play an important part in increasing access to our history, heritage and community. Apprenticeships can work just as well for small employers as large ones - we see ours as a great opportunity to develop local skills, increase the accessibility of our heritage, and provide someone with a real platform to make a lasting impact in the borough."
Zac Lloyd, Community Engagement Officer - St John at Hackney