Recruiting Apprentices

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Recruiting Apprentices

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While some sectors are having to make cuts due to the current pandemic, others are looking at opportunities to grow.  To help with the recovery of the economy the Government are introducing incentives for employers.  One of these incentives is the Apprenticeship Incentive.

Government Apprentice incentive

The government will pay any company £2K if they employ a new apprentice aged between 16-24, and £1.5K for anyone over the age of 25.  To be eligible, employment of the apprentice needs to commence between August 2020 and January 2021.

Employers can register for the grant from September 2020.

What is an apprentice?

A full-time employee on your payroll, who is aged 16 or over and they must receive off the job training for 20% of the time that they are employed.  The off the job training can be the time they attend day release at college, study leave and one-off training courses that relate to the job they are employed for.

The idea is that there will be a job at the end of the apprenticeship, and the employer will have a valuable and fully skilled employee out of it.

The Apprentice doesn’t have to be a new employee either.  They can be an existing employee who wants to upskill or retrain in another area.

How many apprentices can you take on?

There isn’t a limit to the number of new apprentices you take on but be mindful that these new employees will need a lot of attention during their first few months, especially if they have never worked before.  So it may not cost you much in annual salary to take on an apprentice but it could cost you in other ways if you don’t get the balance right.

But aren’t Apprenticeships just for lower skilled jobs?

No, apprenticeships start at education level 2 right up to level 7 which is a degree level qualification.  What you’re offering with an apprenticeship is a full-time job with training.

Where do I to start?

First think whether an apprentice is right for your business, why it is you want an apprentice?  Will they be recruited to fill a current vacancy or are you looking longer term at succession planning?  What skills would you need them to fulfil? You would need to think about the right training course for them to gain the skills required too.

The government has a set of Apprenticeship Standards for a whole variety of roles which set out the skills and training required in order to successfully complete the apprenticeship.  These can be found on the National Apprenticeship website.

How do I go about recruiting an Apprentice?

There are different ways you can go about finding an Apprentice. The role can be advertised by the company as you would go about any other vacancy. It can also be really useful to contact local colleges that offer apprenticeship courses to find out if they have a pool of candidates. For help with both sourcing candidates and training course providers, you can visit the employers page on the government website.

What do I have to pay for a new Apprentice?

The minimum wage for the first year is £4.15 per hour, then it goes up to the national minimum wage related to the age range from the second year onwards.

If you’re able to pay more, this will be an incentive to draw in more candidates.

How do I go about training the Apprentice?

As an Apprentice is an employee trained in skills for a particular role, it is important to get the right training.  It’s also a good idea to get your employees involved in training the apprentice as on the job training is part of the apprenticeship and it doesn’t have to be all done by a training provider.

You can provide the apprentice with a mentor and it could be an existing staff member who is able to give guidance and advice.

There are a whole range of apprenticeship standards that can be found on the government website, employers can use these as a base to find the right specification for a role that involves skills.

The government website, is where you can look for any role and it will provide you with details on training courses, qualifications, and the colleges and training providers that run the courses.

Apprenticeship levy

The government gives help to pay for apprenticeship training.

How much you can get will depend on whether your business pays the apprenticeship levy or not. If you’re an employer with a pay bill over £3 million each year then you will be paying into the levy.

If you don’t, then you pay 5% towards the cost of training and assessing an apprentice, the government pays the remainder of the fees up to a funding band maximum.  This would be arranged with the training provider directly.

Contact our HR Consultants today

If you need specific advice or would like further information, please get in touch with our specialist team by filling out our online enquiry form or by calling 0333 222 0989.

References: Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education and


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