How much do most employers pay towards apprenticeship training?


 Up to 5% - the government pays the remaining 95%

98% of businesses pay a maximum of just 5% of the apprenticeship training costs. The government pays the remaining 95%.

The remaining 2% of businesses (those with an annual wage bill over £3million) pay into an Apprenticeship Levy. The government tops up the Levy accounts by 10%. These funds can then be used to pay for apprenticeship training.

Top Tip: If you have skills gaps in your company, low productivity or just find it hard to retain good staff, you should consider apprenticeships. SMEs can access up to £27,000 worth of funding for £1,350, and levy payers will lose the funding if they don't use it.


What is the maximum age you can be to start an apprenticeship?


No upper age limit

Apprenticeships being only for young people is a common myth. You can offer hardworking, reliable people apprenticeship opportunities, no matter what their age. 

Top Tip: When recruiting apprentices make sure you cast your net wide. Your apprenticeship vacancy could be the perfect opportunity for a career changer or parent returning to work. Don't just advertise to 16-18 year olds.

Essentially, you should be looking to find people with the raw attributes to learn the job and fit in with your company dynamic. What age they are is irrelevant.


Are graduates eligible for apprenticeships?


Yes – as long as it’s a different subject or above degree level

 A degree is a Level 6 qualification. As such, a graduate can study a suitable Level 7 apprenticeship or take a Level 2-6 apprenticeship as long as they are learning 'substantive new skills'.

For example: an English Literature Graduate could start a Level 3 Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship. Whereas it's unlikely that a Mechanical Engineering Graduate could.

Top Tip: This means you can entice graduates to your organisation and put them through an apprenticeship to learn your particular industry inside out.


Are your current employees eligible for apprenticeship training? 


Yes – Government will support apprenticeship training for all

Existing employees from the shop floor to director-level are eligible for apprenticeships. In fact, higher-level apprenticeships for senior staff are some of the fastest growing groups of apprenticeships.

Top Tip: Why not use apprenticeships to promote hardworking staff that show management potential? For example, if you ran a Team Leader apprenticeship programme for loyal staff that are good shopfloor employees, your staff would see there are real progression opportunities in your company and be motivated to work hard to move up the career ladder.


Can industry-specific qualifications form part of an apprenticeship?


Yes – Chartered-status and industry training can be added

Apprenticeship Standards are new employer-led training programmes. You can work with your chosen training partner to plan what training and qualifications you'd like to see included in the apprenticeship.

As long as the training supports the knowledge, skills and behaviours required of the 'standard' it should be possible to include it - although exam and certification fees might be an additional cost.

Top Tip: If you pay for your staff to gain chartered status or industry-specific training - you might be able to access the same training as part of an apprenticeship, but at a fraction of the cost. Remember the Government subsidises apprenticeship training, so do your research.


How do apprentices take their off-the-job training?



 Apprenticeships involve a government approved 'training provider' who is responsible for the off-the-job training of the apprentice.

An apprentice will leave their work duties to complete this training, but most stay in the workplace. However, an apprentice can complete their off-the-job learning as day release, block release or a mixture of methods. It will depend on the subject and the training partner's delivery model.

Top Tip: Contact different types of training provider and understand why they deliver the off-the-job training the way they do. When fully informed, decide on what is best for you and your apprentice.


What's the minimum amount of time an apprentice should receive off-the-job training?



An apprentice must be allocated at least 20% of their paid time to off-the-job training. This is your investment.

As an apprenticeship lasts at least a year and can often be far longer, depending on the individual programme chosen, you should be sure you are committed to this type of long-term staff training.


What are Degree-Apprenticeships?


An apprenticeship that includes a degree as part of their programme

Degree-Apprenticeships are apprenticeships that include an undergraduate degree from a UK university as part of the programme.

Yes, you read that right... your staff can gain debt-free degrees in Architecture, Civil Engineering, Digital Marketing, Retail Leadership, Management and many other topics whilst working as apprentices.

Top Tip: Think about how degree-apprenticeships can help you recruit and retain the best local talent. There will be many young people in your area that want to go to university, but are concerned about the costs. You can offer them a great career start: years' of work experience, qualifications and a university experience!


What financial support is available when employing 16-18 year olds as apprentices?


£1,000 (+no training costs, if you employ 1-49 people)


Employers are given £500 when an eligible apprentice has been with you three months and another £500 when they complete their apprenticeship.

If you employ less than 50 people, you also don't pay a penny towards the training costs (this alone could be a £2,700 saving). 

There's more: The same financial benefits apply to employers that take on 16-24 year olds that have left care or those with a disability that have an Education and Health Care plan. Think about how you can support people from under-represented groups into work through apprenticeships.


What incentive is there for employing apprentices under the age of 25?


No employer national insurance contributions for the apprentice

Any business that offers apprenticeship training to an employee under the age of 25, does not have to pay any Employer N.I. contributions. This saving is almost always more than the 5% contribution to training for non-levy payers. Plus, the more you pay the apprentice the higher the saving.

Imagine you employ a 21-year-old administrator as a regular member of staff, on £19,000 per annum. She is a real asset to your company and you want to keep her and support her progress. She would like to become an accountant, so you decide to train her on a three-year Accountancy/Taxation Professional Apprenticeship. This will include training to become a Chartered Accountant. The training cost to you the employer is £350 per annum (remember the Government are paying the majority of costs), yet you save quadruple (£1,459.49 per annum) on Employer N.I

Top Tip: Use a National Insurance calculator to see how large a saving this is. Plus, the more you pay apprentices, the more you save and the more they benefit in their monthly pay packet.


How do we manage pay and reward?


Employers must pay the person on the apprenticeship their wages for work and training time.

The apprenticeship minimum wage is £3.90 per hour in the first 12 months (or if the apprentice is 16-18). However, most employers pay more than this.

Top Tip: Think about a wage that will allow you to attract quality candidates to the role but acknowledges someone is learning on the job and not yet fully qualified.