Hiring an Apprentice in England – Where Do I Start?

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Written by: SafeWorkforce
11th April

When it comes to hiring an apprentice, there are five steps you should follow.

Step 1: Create an apprentice service account

To create an apprentice service account, you will need an email address, permission to add PAYE schemes to the account details, permission to accept the employer agreement on behalf of your Company, a Government Gateway login for your Company or your accounts office reference number (AORN), and an employer PAYE scheme reference number.

Once you have created an account, you will be able to access and manage the apprenticeship funding, set up and approve applications, advertise, approve training costs, check payments to the training providers, give permission to the training provider to do things on behalf of your Company, and give feedback on the apprenticeship training.

Step 2: Choose the apprenticeship course and provider

You can choose your apprenticeship course and provider through the Government website or alternatively, you can create your own apprenticeship opportunity.

Step 3: Check what funding is available to you

Funding for the apprenticeship agreement, will come from the government but the amount you will get depends on whether you pay the apprenticeship levy or not. (You pay the levy if you’re an employer with a pay bill over £3 million each year)

No Levy

The government will pay 95% of the training funds (up to the funding band maximum) directly to the training provider and you will pay 5% of the cost directly to the training provider. For this, you will need to agree a payment schedule with the training provider.

Levy (If your pay bill as an employer is over £3 million each year)

Where you do pay a levy, you will receive the funds to spend on training and assessing your apprentice. The government will add 10% to this amount.

Other costs

Until 15th May 2022, you can apply for an incentive payment of £3,000 for new apprentices but to be eligible, the apprentice must have:

  • started their employment at your organisation between 1 October 2021 and 31 January 2022, or
  • started their apprenticeship between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022.

Step 4: Create and display adverts

When creating your advert, be mindful of what it is you’re looking for. An apprentice must be aged 16 or over and not in full-time education.

For displaying your advert, think about other ways that you can find apprentices such as open days, visits to schools, colleges or universities, and careers events. It could be beneficial to adapt the style of the advert to stand out at all those types of  events as well as standing out on social media.

Step 5: Select an apprentice and make an apprentice agreement and commitment statement

Apprentices can either be new or existing employees. The difference with an apprentice and an employee, is that apprentice combines working with studying to gain the skills and knowledge involved with a specific job.

The apprenticeship agreement must be an approved apprenticeship and last at least a year in duration but can last up to five years depending on the level of apprenticeship. Once written, the apprentice agreement must be signed by you and the apprentice. It must give details of:

  • the skill or trade or occupation the apprentice is training for
  • the name of the apprenticeship their working toward
  • the start and end dates of the apprenticeship, and
  • the amount of training you will give them.

It is important to note that an apprentice’s terms and conditions must be the same as employees that do similar roles. For example, the apprentice is still entitled to paid holiday, sick pay, benefits, redundancy rights, and support such as coaching/mentoring.

In addition to the apprenticeship agreement, you must also provide a commitment statement. The commitment statement must be signed by you, the training provider and the apprentice and it must include:

  • information on how to resolve queries and/or complaints,
  • the planned content and schedule for training, and
  • what is expected and offered by the employer, the training provider and the apprentice.

When creating the agreement and commitment statement, it is important to note that the apprentice must have a real job and work with experienced staff, learn specific skills and get at least 20% of their normal working time for training and/or studying during their working hours (i.e. at work, through college or a training provider, or online). They should also be paid at least the minimum wage including their time spent training and/or studying. If they are also doing an English or Maths qualification, then they are also entitled to paid study time during working hours.

Apprentice Minimum Wage Rates

*As of April 2022, the rates are as follows:

Aged 16 to 18£4.81 per hour
Aged 19 or over and in their 1st year of apprenticeship£4.81 per hour
*Aged 19 or over and have completed their 1st year of apprenticeshipNational Minimum Wage or National Living Wage (see below)
Aged 18 to 20 (but aged 19 or over and have completed their 1st year of apprenticeship)£6.82
Aged 21 to 22£9.18
Aged 23 or over£9.50

Alternatively, if you don’t want to hire and train an apprentice yourself, you can use an apprenticeship training agency. This means the apprentice will work in your business but will be employed by the agency.

Discover the process of hiring an apprentice near you

Hiring an apprentice in Scotland

Hiring an apprentice in Wales

If you have any queries on hiring an apprentice, please contact the Alcumus HR Consultancy team on 01484 439930 or [email protected].