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Employer guide to apprenticeships

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 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.

Benefits of hiring

Hiring an apprentice is a productive and effective way for any business to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. Employers who have an established apprenticeship programme reported that productivity in their workplace had improved by 76% whilst 75% reported that apprenticeships improved the quality of their product or service.

Other benefits include:

  • increasing employee satisfaction
  • reducing staff turnover
  • reducing recruitment costs

Employers who have an established apprenticeship programme reported that productivity in their workplace had improved by 76% whilst 75% reported that apprenticeships improved the quality of their product or service.

Top 4 Questions about the apprenticeship program

“Apprenticeships cannot be used for
existing staff”

– FACT: Apprenticeships can be used to upskill and/or retrain employees of any age, as long as the apprenticeship is giving them new skills.

“Apprenticeships are only for young people (16-18)”

– FACT: Apprenticeships are available to people of all ages; anyone over the age of 16 living in England can apply.

“Apprenticeships are only entry level "

– FACT: Apprenticeships are available from Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) right through to Levels 6 and 7 (equivalent to a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree).

“20% off-the-job training is inflexible

– FACT: Off-the-job training does not have to involve 1 day a week spent in college. It can be delivered in a way and place that suits you and the provider.

References:) Year 2015), Employer guide to apprenticeships, Publisher Gov.uk, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeships-guide-for-employers