National Apprenticeship Week: Employer FAQs

If you’re interested in bringing an Apprentice into your business, we know it can be confusing trying to navigate recruitment, funding and training.

For National Apprenticeship Week we have answered our employer's most Frequently Asked Questions to guide you through the apprenticeship process and give you a better idea of what is right for your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes that are designed to help employers train people for specific job roles. At the same time, apprentices get a paying job with valuable training for 20 percent of their time while they work towards a nationally recognised apprenticeship standard or framework.

How much do most employers pay towards apprenticeship training?

98% of businesses pay a maximum of just 5% of the apprenticeship training costs. The government pays the remaining 95%. The remaining 2% of businesses (those with an annual wage bill over £3million) pay into an Apprenticeship Levy. The government tops up the Levy accounts by 10%. These funds can then be used to pay for apprenticeship training.

For more on the Apprenticeship Levy, visit:

Is there a limit to the number of apprentices an employer can have?

No - employers can take on as many apprentices as they can support and the apprenticeship levy that your organisation pays into can support with the funding.

Don’t apprentices need a lot of support?

Apprentices may need additional support in the initial stages, especially if this is their first experience of employment but this is likely to decrease as their skills and confidence grow. Where appropriate, supervision or mentoring can be offered by an existing member of staff wishing to gain experience as part of their development.

Are graduates eligible for apprenticeships?

Yes – as long as it’s a different subject or above degree level. A degree is a level 6 qualification. As such, a graduate can study a suitable level 7 apprenticeship or take a level 2-6 apprenticeship as long as they are learning 'substantive new skills'. This means you can entice graduates to your organisation and put them through an apprenticeship to learn your particular industry inside out.

How do we hire an apprentice?

Browse our apprenticeship courses and decide which one is right you’re the requirements of your business. If you need guidance, our Apprentieship team are on hand to help you get the most value from your funding. Once you are set on a course you want to provide, we will recruit and screen applicants through job boards and social media channels before you have the final say on which apprentice you would like to join your organisation.

How do we manage pay and reward?

Employers must pay the person on the apprenticeship their wages for work and training time.

The apprenticeship minimum wage is £3.90 per hour in the first 12 months (or if the apprentice is 16-18). However, most employers pay more than this.

What is the maximum age you can be to start an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships being only for young eople is a common myth. There is no upper-age limit for becoming an apprentice. You can offer hardworking, reliable people apprenticeship opportunities, no matter what their age.

What’s the minimum amount of time an apprentice should receive off-the-job training?

An apprentice must be allocated at least 20% of their paid time to off-the-job training. This is your investment. As an apprenticeship lasts at least a year and can often be far longer, depending on the individual programme chosen, you should be sure you are committed to this type of long-term staff training.

How do apprentices take their off-the-job training?

Day release at the college or provider, block release at a university or at the employer’s premises.

Apprenticeships involve a government-approved training provider (System Group) who are responsible for the off-the-job training of the apprentice.

An apprentice will leave their work duties to complete this training, but most stay in the workplace. However, an apprentice can complete their off-the-job learning as day release, block release or a mixture of methods. It will depend on the subject and the training partner’s delivery model.

If you still have questions, we have created an Employer Guide containing a wealth of information, guidance, and case studies to show the benefits of hiring an apprentice.

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