What do employers need to know about apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to improve and grow your business. They provide the opportunity for you and your employees to develop the skills, knowledge, and behaviours they need to support your business, both now and for the future.  

Anyone over the age of 16 can become an apprentice. They can be new to the organisation or an existing employee who has recently changed position within the organisation. An apprenticeship can start from Level 2 (GCSE level) through to Level 7 (Master’s level). 

Apprenticeships provide opportunities for businesses to: 

  • Handpick and train the additional employees you need to plug skills gaps and boost productivity 
  • Boost staff morale and retention by providing professional development opportunities 
  • Build a learning and development culture in your organisation 
  • Demonstrate your commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace 
  • Qualify for government incentives and funding for training  

Apprenticeships work.  

  • 86% of employers said apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce 
  • 86% said apprenticeships helped them deliver skills relevant to their organisation 
  • 80% said they significantly helped to improve staff retention 

According to a study by St Martin’s Group, the estimated yearly financial benefit for employers is between £2,500 and £18,000 per apprentice during their training period. 

Why Totton College? 

Whatever your training needs, Totton College can help you. We offer a free Business Training Needs Analysis to identify skills gaps in your workforce and can provide end to end recruitment support through our Business Development Team. 

We are proud of our bespoke apprenticeship training programmes, which are developed to meet the needs of our employer partners and the requirements of the apprenticeship standards. Our programmes offer industry-specific training for sectors from business administration to Early Years and others. We offer a blended approach to learning, enabling flexibility for both apprentices and employers. 

 Whether you are a levy-paying company or a small business, we can support you to navigate the apprenticeship funding system and identify any financial support or incentives available to your organisation. 

Apprenticeships: what employers need to know. 

What incentives are available to businesses that hire apprentices?

  • Apprentices Ages 16-18 – £1000
  • Apprentices – Care Leavers Aged 19-24 – £3000

 Additional government incentives may be available. Check with the Apprenticeships Team. 

What funding is available to businesses with apprenticeships? 

 Apprenticeship funding is divided into Levy and Non-Levy employers. Non-Levy employers are usually Small-Medium Employers (SMEs). Levy employers have an annual payroll of over £3 million. 

 If your business has payroll less that £3 million, fewer than 50 employees and you’re not part of a larger group of companies, you will not have to make any contribution for apprentices aged 16 to 18.  

See Apprenticeship Funding Explained for more information.  

How much do apprentices earn? 

The current minimum hourly rate for an apprentice is £6.40*. If the apprentice is aged 19+, they can be paid the minimum apprenticeship wage for a maximum of 12 months. After that they must be paid the minimum wage for their age.  

* Correct as of April 2024. Subject to change. 

How many hours do apprentices work? 

An apprentice must be paid for a minimum of 30 hours per week (this includes any time spent in college). An apprentice aged 16-18 can work a maximum of 40 hours per week. 

What insurance does a company need if they hire an apprentice? 

Companies employing apprentices must have valid Public & Employer Insurance.

What does off-the-job training involve for an apprentice? 

Off-the-job training is learning that takes place outside of day-to-day work duties and contributes to the achievement of the apprenticeship. This training should be delivered within the apprentice’s normal (contracted) working hours and includes time spent at apprenticeship workshops. 

Off-the-job training must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship. 

The minimum off-the-job training for a full-time apprentice is an average of 6 hours per week. This provides time for them to focus and develop the required skills, knowledge and behaviours to achieve the apprenticeship standard.  

Off-the-job training includes workshops, role playing, simulation exercises and online learning. It can also include work shadowing, mentoring, industry visits, attendance at competitions and writing assessments or assignments if these are completed during normal working hours. 

Off-the-job training does not include maths and/or English lessons, progress reviews or assessments. 

What does on-the-job training involve for an apprentice? 

The apprentice’s role should enable them to experience all elements of the qualification. The pre-enrolment process takes into consideration the apprentice’s prior experience, their English and maths prior attainment and their suitability for the role. 

As the employer, you’ll mentor the apprentice to help them gain the relevant skills, knowledge, and behaviours for the Apprenticeship Standard. This means you will be responsible for supervising their practice and providing opportunities for them to shadow experienced members of staff. 

How are apprenticeships assessed? 

Once the apprentice’s mentor, employer and trainers are confident they’ve reached the level required by their standard, they will be assessed for their End Point assessment (EPA). This assessment is carried out by an external organisation. Once the apprentice has passed their EPA, their apprenticeship is complete.  

The requirements of the EPA will be outlined when you sign up for an apprenticeship. Our team can provide guidance for both you and your apprentice throughout the programme to help them achieve a successful grade. 

What’s the next step? 

 For more information about hiring an apprentice for your business, please complete the Enquiry Form. A member of the apprenticeship team will contact you to set up a time to talk. 

 To qualify for apprenticeship funding, you’ll need to create an account on the Digital Account Service. We can support you with this. 

 * Correct as of April 2024. Subject to change. 

For more information, please contact our Apprenticeship Team: apprenticeships@totton.ac.uk or 0300 123 3385