How to hire an apprentice

You’re an employer and you’ve decided you would like to hire an apprentice to help grow your business, or potentially fill a skills gap…but you’re not sure where to start.  We’ve answered some of the questions employers ask when deciding whether to recruit an apprentice.


How do I know if there’s an apprenticeship available in my industry?


All apprenticeships must fit within the apprenticeships framework which covers all the statutory requirements, and ensures they are delivered to the national standard.  All apprenticeships are currently undergoing a review with new standards, funding structures and assessment methods being developed.  This is aimed to be completed by 2017.


Should I use a training provider?


You can either use a training provider to deliver your apprenticeship programme or you can design and manage one yourself.


A training provider will advertise the vacancy you have and then conduct the recruitment process.  They will develop a relevant training plan for the learner, review this throughout the apprenticeship and complete the relevant assessments.  If you decide to not use a training provider you will need to deliver this yourself.


The training provider will also be responsible for ensuring the quality standard of the apprenticeship being delivered, meaning they will be accountable to Ofsted who manage external quality assessment.  If you do not use a training provider you will be required to meet with Ofsted yourself and meet the necessary requirements.


What level of apprenticeship should I offer?


This will depend on the level of skills you require from your apprentice and the work you will require them to do.  There are 3 levels of apprenticeship:


  • Intermediate – known as a Level 2 apprenticeship, this is equivalent to 5 GCSE passes.
  • Advanced – known as a Level 3 apprenticeship, this is equivalent to 2 A-level passes.
  • Higher – those undertaking a higher apprenticeship will be working towards Level 4 or above. Degree apprenticeships have been designed as part of this category, meaning apprentices can finish with a full bachelor’s or master’s degree.


Depending on the level of qualification, an apprenticeship will last between 1 and 4 years.


Is there any funding available?


Depending on the age of your apprentice, their training may be fully funded.  A training provider will apply for the funding on your behalf to enable them to deliver the training your apprentice will need.  If you run the apprenticeship programme yourself independently of a training provider then you can apply to receive the funding directly.


If your apprentice is between 16 and 18, the government will provide 100% of the funding.  If they are between 19-24 years old there will be some support from government but you as the employer will be required to provide some financial contribution.


You may be able to get a grant for £1,500 as a financial incentive.  If you have less than 50 employees, haven’t hired an apprentice in the last 12 months and your apprentice is aged between 16 and 24 you may be eligible.  You will only be able to claim a grant for your first 5 apprentices.


How much do I need to pay an apprentice?


As their employer you are responsible for paying their wages, which must be the minimum wage for apprentices, which is currently £3.30 per hour.  This rate is only for apprentices aged 16 – 18 years old and for those aged 19 or over who are in their first year.  All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.


What conditions/contract do I need to offer an apprentice?


Apprentices will normally work 30 hours a week with a day a week out for study, which you must include in their salary.  Apprentices are entitled to the same as your other employees such as holiday and sick pay as well as any welfare schemes, pension etc.  They are also entitled to other procedures such as an induction, on-the-job training and development, and regular reviews and appraisals.


You must sign an apprenticeship agreement with them which covers how long the apprenticeship is for, the training they’ll be given, their working conditions and the qualifications they are working towards.  If you are using a training provider they will usually arrange for this to be produced.


Is an apprenticeship just for new employees?


Your existing employees can also become an apprentice if they are looking to develop their career further either.


You can find out more details about hiring an apprentice from the National Apprenticeship Service website.  Alternatively you can contact Aspire Training Team.  We are a training provider who can help you recruit an apprentice in business administration, childcare or health and social care.  Contact the team on 01202 551553 or email


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