Hiring an Apprentice – Where Do I Start?

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Written by: Alcumus
8th 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.

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

An apprentice is entitled to the apprentice rate if they are aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in their first year of apprenticeship. Apprentices 19 or over and that have completed their first year of apprenticeship are entitled to the minimum wage for their age as of April 2022.

  • Apprentice: £4.81
  • Under 18: £4.81
  • 18 to 20: £6.83
  • 21 to 22: £9.18
  • 23 and 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.

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

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