They are a great way of attracting, developing and keeping your employees and can:
- boost the skills of the staff to help improve productivity
- increase staff loyalty and retention by demonstrating a commitment to learning
- revitalise the workforce, with apprentices bringing a fresh approach and new ideas
- provide skilled workers for the future to help fill skills gaps
- help to fill skills gaps and source future managers and leaders from within
- provide an alternative route into the workplace
- create new employment opportunities for the local community
Apprenticeships can be offered to new or existing employees. There is a wide range available and all provide a relevant skills development programme.
Apprentices have to spend at least 20% of their time on off-the-job training. There may also be a need for additional time if they need training in English and Maths.
From April 2017, all employers with a salary bill of over £3 million each year have been required to pay the apprenticeship levy.
This means that that 0.5% of the pay bill is paid to HMRC through the PAYE process and can be used to fund apprenticeship training. Any Levy funds not used expire two years after entering the employers Digital Apprenticeship Service account.
Non-levy paying employers can share the cost of training and assessing their apprentices with the government.
From April 2019, non-Levy paying employers will pay 5% towards the cost of apprenticeship training. The government will pay the rest (in accordance with the funding band limit set by the government).
Employers will need to choose a training provider to train the apprentices.
- the training provider can provide help and support when taking on an apprentice
- they may also help with recruiting an apprentice and can work with the employer to ensure that the apprentices are learning the relevant skills
- or employers can register as an Employer Provider and deliver all their own training in-house
Employment must be for at least 30 hours per week, except in a few cases where the learner cannot complete the full 30 hours. In these cases their employment must be for more than 16 hours per week and the duration of the apprenticeship will most likely be extended.
- all apprentices must be paid the National Minimum Wage
- the minimum wage for apprentices is applicable for those under 19 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year of their apprenticeship
- all other apprentices must be paid at least the minimum wage rate for their age
- this is the minimum requirement and employers should consider the skill level of the apprenticeship when they set their apprentices salaries