An apprenticeship is a type of work-based training programme that combines practical on-the-job learning with formal face-to-face or online training.
During an apprenticeship, apprentices work alongside experienced colleagues to gain hands-on experience and develop practical skills. They also attend off-the-job training sessions to learn the theoretical aspects of their role and industry. At the end of an apprenticeship, apprentices receive a nationally recognised qualification, which demonstrates that they have gained the knowledge and skills required to perform their job effectively.
What are the different levels of apprenticeships?
Just like formal education, there are different grades and levels to achieve in apprenticeships.
Level 2 apprenticeship is equivalent to 5 GCSE passes (9-4)
Level 3 apprenticeship is equivalent to 2 A-levels passes
Level 4 apprenticeship is equivalent to a Foundation Degree
Level 5 apprenticeship is equivalent to a Foundation Degree or above
Level 6 apprenticeship is equivalent to a BA Hons Degree
Level 7 apprenticeship is equivalent to a Masters Degree (MBA).
What do I need to do to start an apprenticeship programme in my business?
If you want to offer apprenticeships in your business in England, you will need to register for an apprenticeship service account. The apprenticeship service is a digital platform that enables employers to manage their apprenticeship programmes, including finding apprenticeship training providers, choosing apprenticeship standards, selecting an apprenticeship training programme, advertising apprenticeship vacancies, and paying for apprenticeship training.
The apprenticeship service is free to use, and you can register for an account online. Once you have registered, you can access a range of tools and resources to help you manage your apprenticeship programme, including information on government funding, apprenticeship standards, and training providers.
What will be expected of me as an employer of an apprentice?
As an employer of an apprentice, you are expected to provide a safe and supportive working environment for the apprentice to develop their skills and knowledge. You will need to ensure that the apprentice receives the necessary training and support to complete their apprenticeship programme, both on the job and through off-the-job training. You will also need to pay the apprentice a wage in line with their age and experience, as well as any benefits and entitlements that your other employees receive.
You will need to work closely with the apprenticeship training provider to develop and deliver the apprenticeship programme, including setting clear objectives and providing regular feedback to the apprentice on their progress. You may also be required to provide evidence of the apprentice’s progress and complete assessments or evaluations as part of the apprenticeship programme.
In addition, you may be eligible for government funding to help cover the cost of the apprentice’s training and support. To access this funding, you will need to register for an apprenticeship service account and agree to the terms and conditions of the apprenticeship programme.
Is there any funding support available?
For larger businesses – The Apprenticeship Levy
All employers with a payroll bill in excess of £3 million per annum have to pay an Apprenticeship Levy of 0.5% on the amount that the pay bill exceeds £3m pa, paid monthly through PAYE.
For small businesses who don’t pay the apprenticeship levy – co-investment.
Smaller companies who don’t pay the apprenticeship levy, have access to the government’s co-investment fund to support with the cost of apprenticeship training.
The government asks that employers make a 5% contribution, and the government pays the remaining 95% up to the maximum amount of funding set for the apprenticeship chosen.
Employers with less than 50 employees are not required to make any financial contribution towards the cost of an apprenticeship for an employee aged between 16 and 18, or someone who is under 24 and has left care or has a local authority health and education place.
Levy Transfers to fund 100% of your apprenticeship costs
You can now search the government portal for apprenticeship funding opportunities via a levy transfer. As a business of any size, you can use this service to apply for funding from large businesses that want to fund 100% of your apprenticeship training and assessment costs by transferring some of their apprenticeship levy.
I want to recruit a new member of staff on to an apprenticeship, how do I do this?
Once you have set up an online account on the Apprenticeship Service you can use the service to advertise your apprenticeship vacancies for free on the “Find an apprenticeship” website where potential apprentices can find and apply for your vacancies. Once you have advertised your apprenticeship, you can then screen and interview applicants to select the right candidate for your business.
What are Off the Job Hours (OJHs)?
Off-the-job training is a key component of apprenticeship programmes and must account for a minimum of 6 hours per week of the apprenticeships. It is defined as learning that takes place outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and contributes to the achievement of the apprenticeship standard.
Off-the-job training must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship and can include a range of activities, such as:
Classroom-based learning: This can include attending workshops, lectures or other types of formal training delivered by an approved apprenticeship training provider.
E-learning: This can include online courses or other forms of digital learning.
Work-based learning: This can include shadowing, mentoring or working on projects that are directly related to the apprenticeship.
Industry visits: This can include visiting other companies or organisations to gain insight into different working practices or processes.
Developing a skilled workforce: Apprenticeships provide a structured training programme that helps employers develop a highly skilled workforce that can meet the specific needs of their business.
Cost-effective training: Apprenticeships offer a cost-effective way of training staff as they are partially funded by the government, reducing the overall cost of training for the employer.
Improved productivity: Apprenticeships help to improve the productivity of businesses by providing a skilled and motivated workforce that can contribute to the growth of the company.
Tailored training: Apprenticeships can be tailored to meet the specific needs of a business, ensuring that the training is relevant and beneficial to the employer.
Loyalty and retention: Apprenticeships can help to increase staff loyalty and retention, as apprentices are more likely to stay with a company that has invested in their training and development.
Meeting skills gaps: Apprenticeships can help employers address skills gaps in their workforce, ensuring that they have the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a rapidly changing business environment.
Overall, apprenticeships offer significant benefits to employers, helping them to develop a skilled and motivated workforce that can contribute to the long-term success of their business.