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 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.1
(Source: Apprenticeship Evaluation 2017:
Other benefits that apprenticeships
contribute towards include:
– increasing employee satisfaction
– reducing staff turnover
– reducing recruitment costs
Additional payments and funding which may be available
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.