An Apprenticeship is an excellent way for your business to develop employees with the skills and experience you need.
Over 130,000 businesses across the UK offer apprenticeship places because they recognise their effectiveness at increasing productivity, improving business performance and ensuring a committed and competent workforce.
Recruiting apprentices enables employers to fill the skills gaps that exist within their current workforce as apprentices begin to learn sector specific skills from day one.
In addition to eager, motivated staff who are committed to on-the-job training and development, industry research has highlighted numerous direct and indirect benefits of apprenticeships both for recruiting new apprentices and for training your workforce:
- 81% of apprentice employers say they make their businesses more productive
- 82% of employers take on apprentices to build the skills capacity within their businesses
- 80% of employers feel that apprenticeships reduce staff turnover
- 75% of apprentice employers say the programme has helped cut recruitment costs
- 88% of apprentice employers believe they lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce, leading to greater loyalty and quality
- 81% of consumers favour companies that employ apprentices
What is an Apprenticeship?
Apprentices are aged 16 or over and combine working with studying for a work-based qualification - from GCSEs or equivalent up to degree level.
Apprentices can be new or current employees.
Apprentices will get hands-on experience and on-the-job training, and at the same time gain respected qualifications.
An apprenticeship includes the following components:
- A minimum of 30 hours per week paid employment (although 16-up to 30 hours per week can be acceptable in some cases)
- A knowledge based element - vocationally related qualifications that provide the underpinning knowledge and context for doing the job effectively
- A competence based element - providing practical skills in specific occupational areas
- Functional skills - transferable work-related skills like communication and numeracy
You could get a grant or funding to employ a 16-24 year old apprentice in England or Wales. Additional grants are available for London employers employing fewer than 249 employees with a London postcode.
You must pay the apprentice at least the minimum wage during their placement with you.
Your apprentice must:
- Work with experienced staff
- Learn job-specific skills
- Study for a work-based qualification during their working week, e.g. at a college or training organisation
Hiring your Apprentice
There are several steps to taking on an apprentice.
- Check the apprenticeships framework for an apprenticeship in your industry and at a suitable level - contact the National Apprenticeship Service if you need help or advice.
- Register your interest in employing an apprentice with the National Apprenticeship Service.
- Find a training organisation that offers apprenticeships for your industry - they’ll handle your apprentice’s training, qualification and assessment.
- Check you’re eligible for a grant and apply.
- Advertise your apprenticeship - your training organisation will do this for you through apprenticeship vacancies. You can track your vacancies by registering as an employer.
- Select your apprentice and make an apprenticeship agreement with them.
You can use an apprenticeship training agency if you want to employ an apprentice without the responsibility for running the apprenticeship scheme.
Apprentice Recruitment for businesses with fewer than 250 employees
If your business has fewer than 250 employees, the Skills Funding Agency has a Small Business Team specialising in meeting the needs of smaller employers. They can guide you through the process of hiring an apprentice.
To speak to a Small Business Team advisor please call 08000 150 600. Further information on the service is available here.
Length of Apprenticeships
Apprenticeships can last from 1 to 4 years, depending on the level of qualification the apprentice is studying for.
Links for Employers
If you have further questions, they may be answered on our FAQs page.