Hiring an apprentice can be an exciting time for any growing business. An apprentice is someone aged 16 or over who combines working in industry and studying to help them gain qualifications to kickstart their career.
While there are some rules you must adhere to (such as the apprentice must be able to learn specific skills, work with experienced staff and be allowed time for studying/college days), an apprentice can be a really great asset to your company, and they may even stay on as a full-time employee once their apprenticeship is complete.
There are a number of steps involved in hiring an apprentice. Below, we’ve tried to make the process as easy to understand as possible.
Step 1: Set up an apprenticeship service account
It’s important that you set up your apprenticeship service account via the government website. This account enables you to take full advantage of all the services available to you and lets you apply for apprenticeship funding, hire an apprentice, manage training providers and more.
Step 2: Choose the type of apprenticeship
There are lots of types of apprenticeships available depending on the industry your company is in. For example, a photography business may wish to set up a ‘Level 3 photography assistant’ apprenticeship, or a fitness company might want to start a ‘Level 3 personal trainer’ role. Use your apprenticeship service account to search for the apprenticeships available and to help you choose.
You can also pick the level of qualifications you will require your apprentice to have already (GCSEs, A Levels, etc). This will, of course, establish the minimum age of your apprentice, too. If you only want to hire someone older than 18, you might want to pick A Levels as your minimum qualification.
Step 3: Find an apprenticeship training provider
Once you’ve selected your type of apprenticeship, you need to find a suitable training provider in your local area. The training provider, such as a college, will support the apprentice in their learning and studying, and is who they will get their qualifications from. While they might work as your apprentice for a maximum of 80% of the time, they will also need to attend college, usually as a day release.
The best way to find a provider is to select the type of apprenticeship you want and then use the search feature to enter your location and find providers near you.
Step 4: Understand how funding works
The price for the total cost of the apprenticeship should be determined by you and your training provider, so it’s essential you come to an agreement on this. You can get some help from the government when it comes to taking on an apprentice. The funding can either pay for the apprentice’s training and assessment or be used as an incentive payment towards other associated costs. We’ve covered more about funding further down in this guide, as there’s quite a lot of information.
Step 5: Find your apprentice
Once you’ve completed all the other steps, it’s time to find and hire your new apprentice. Some applicants may come from the training provider or you can create an advert in your government apprenticeship service account. If you have multiple applicants and only one apprenticeship available, you will need to pick the most suitable candidate.
Now you’ve chosen your apprentice, you will need to create an apprenticeship agreement.
An apprenticeship agreement is a document that outlines the terms of the apprenticeship. It should tell the successful candidate what you will train them in, the length of their term, the number of hours they will work with you versus going to college and the qualifications they’ll have at the end. You can create your own agreement or you can use a ready-made template. It must be signed prior to the apprentice’s first day with you.
They should also sign a commitment statement. This is similar to the apprenticeship agreement and should contain information about what is expected of you, the apprentice and the training provider.
The amount of funding you could receive will depend on whether you pay the apprenticeship levy or not.
You will pay the levy if your annual pay to all your employees is more than £3 million. If this is the case, you can use your apprenticeship service account to pay any training and assessment bills.
If you are a levy-paying employer you need to register for the apprenticeship service so you can manage your apprenticeship funds online. You will be able to pay for training and assessment from your account and the government will add 10% to your funds. This means the government puts in a 10% contribution and you must pay the remaining 90%.
If you don’t have enough funds to pay for this, you must pay 5% of the money owed and the government will pay the rest (95%).
If you don’t pay the apprenticeship levy, you can reserve funds via your apprenticeship service account. You will need to pay for 5% of the total cost of training and the government will cover the rest.
All employers, regardless of whether they pay the levy or not, will also receive £1,000 for every apprentice. This is the case if the apprentice is between the age of 16 and 18, or if they’re under the age of 25 and have been in the care of a local authority.
As of April 2022, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) is £4.81 for apprentices under the age of 19 (or 19 or over in the first year of their apprenticeship). Between the ages of 18 and 23, there are certain pay brackets, as follows:
|Aged 23 and over||£9.50|
This means in their first year, all apprentices will be paid a minimum of £4.81, regardless of their age. However, if an apprentice is 20 or over when they first start with you, you will need to pay them at least £9.18 in their second year*.
The NMW changes every April, so do check the government website for an up to date figure.
You don’t need to insure an apprentice separately, however they will come under employers’ liability insurance. If you have any employees, you must have this sort of cover, as it will protect you should an injury occur while they are working for you.
*This information is correct at the time of writing (April 2022) and is subject to change. Please check the government website for all up to date information.
Protects against claims of injury to third-parties or damage to a third-party's property.
A legal requirement for anyone employing staff. Protects your business in-case an employee is injured at work.
Cover for work injuries, illnesses caused by work and compensation awards.