The Ultimate Guide to Apprenticeship Rules for Employers

Business owners have a duty of care to apprentices to give them every opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Apprenticeship rules for employers ensure that apprentices are treated fairly in every aspect of their job.

An apprenticeship is not only an ideal way for businesses to benefit from the enthusiasm and skills of young people, but, more importantly, it’s also an opportunity for someone to get their first step on the career ladder. Taking on an apprentice differs in several ways from hiring an employee, as there are rules in place to make sure that an apprentice isn’t being taken advantage of in any way.

In this post, we provide a comprehensive guide to apprenticeship rules for employers, which includes crucial aspects such as wages and training opportunities.

There Must Be an Apprenticeship Agreement in Place

An apprenticeship agreement is used to establish specific employment arrangements between an employer and their apprentice. An apprenticeship agreement should also state the occupation, trade, or skill that the apprentice is being trained on under the approved apprenticeship framework.

An employment contract that’s used for hiring new employees will not suffice in this case, as an apprenticeship agreement includes several aspects that only apply to an apprentice. At the start of the apprenticeship, the employer and apprentice must sign the agreement to confirm the employment arrangements they have decided upon.

An apprenticeship agreement is crucial to prevent any potential disputes between an employer and apprentice about work-related issues. Whether it’s to do with payment, their job role or what is expected of them in the workplace — having an agreement in place will provide a guideline that all parties can recognise and respect.

There Must Also Be a Commitment Statement

Along with the apprenticeship agreement, there must also be a commitment statement — the purpose of which is exactly how it sounds. The signing of a commitment statement is to confirm that the apprentice and training provider are committed to ensuring that they both do everything in their power ensure the apprenticeship is successful.

For the training provider, this means that they must provide high-quality training and assessments that are tailored to specific industries and will help an apprentice gain the necessary skills and knowledge to perform to a high standard. For an apprentice, this is a signed statement to demonstrate that they are committed to completing all training tasks and exams to the best of their ability and handing them in on time. A commitment statement will also ensure apprentices agree to behave in a suitable manner.

an employer and apprentice agreeing terms of employment and signing papers

How Much Do I Need to Pay an Apprentice?

Apprentices in the UK must be paid the National Minimum Wage, but it should be noted that there is a specific wage payable to apprentices, which may differ from the minimum wage for their age. Of course, this is only the minimum you have to pay them, so it is up to you to pay them a wage that you feel is reasonable — as long as it matches or exceeds the current minimum wage.

Every apprentice under the age of 19 or over 19 and in their first year of an apprenticeship should receive an hourly rate of at least £3.70. Apprentice who are over 19 and have completed the first year of their apprenticeship are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age bracket. For example, if you have a 25-year-old apprentice in their second year of an apprenticeship, they are entitled to an hourly rate of £7.83.

Am I Eligible for the Apprenticeship Levy?

In 2017, the UK government introduced the apprenticeship levy, a new funding initiative with the aim of creating millions of apprenticeship opportunities. The purpose of the levy is to provide employers with the necessary funding to pay for their apprentice’s training and assessments. The apprenticeship levy works as follows:

  • The levy applies to employers — both public and private — across all sectors with a payroll bill that’s more than £3 million a year.
  • Those with a pay bill of less than £3 million a year don’t qualify for the apprenticeship levy. In these cases, employers will pay 10% of the cost of training and the government will pay the remaining 90%.

Employers are provided with a £15,000 allowance that’s offset against their training costs, which operates on a monthly basis. This means, over the course of a year, you’ll receive £1,250 each month, and any unused funds will be returned to your allowance. The government will also top-up your levy pot by 10% each month, entitling you to an additional £125.

Hiring an Apprentice

In comparison to taking on a regular employee, hiring an apprentice differs in several ways. As an apprentice is yet to learn the necessary skills and knowledge of your industry, it can be difficult to find a candidate who has the potential to succeed in your sector. At CCCT, we use our vast network of industry links to find you the most efficient and suitable person to suit the needs of your business and you as an employer.

Every business is unique and will require a different apprenticeship structure and approach to training and assessment. Luckily for you, this is something our team at CCCT  has a great deal of experience in. Not only can we provide the perfect apprenticeship framework to aid the progression of your apprentice(s), but we can also tailor every aspect of their training to suit your needs.

Training an apprentice to become an adept and skilful employee takes time, effort, patience and, of course, money, so it’s essential to find the right person for the job. This can be achieved through a comprehensive and dedicated recruitment service, which we provide for free, by the way! Following your free initial consultation, we will be able to establish exactly what your goals are as a company, as well as the type of apprentice you're looking for. Then, our next step is to find you a new apprentice!

Are you still unsure about any aspects of what is required of you as an employer? Get in touch with Capital City College Training today by emailing employer@capitalcct.ac.uk or call us on 020 7391 6400 and quote “FREE employer consultation”.

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