Thousands of businesses across the UK are currently offering apprenticeships.

We’re helping SMEs learn about apprenticeship programmes and how they can positively contribute to their business’ success.

You too could benefit your business by taking on an apprentice.

Apprenticeships can fit into businesses in a number of ways, either as a way of attracting and developing new talent, or to help existing colleagues retrain and continue progressing in their career.  

As an employer, you have the opportunity to design the apprenticeships programmes in a way that will best match the needs of your business, incorporating the knowledge, skills and behaviours that are most relevant to your industry.  

Apprenticeships include structured training programmes to help an apprentice gain new skills and knowledge, and work towards a qualification, providing clarity on the content and next steps.

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What's in it for you?

Apprenticeships are a great way for you to recruit new talent, or train existing colleagues.

Apprenticeships can make your business more effective and productive. By being an integral part of your talent pool, they can bring creativity, enthusiasm and commitment. 

Therefore by considering how apprenticeships can be used successfully within your business, you will be increasing your capacity to attract and retain strong talent.

Please note: employers must employ the apprentice for a minimum of 30 hours per week.

What's in it for the apprentice?

Apprentices gain first-hand knowledge of how an industry works. They’ll also find out if the industry is right for them and their future career aspirations. 

With the right balance between earning and learning, they are a key way to supporting colleagues and developing new talent.

Apprenticeships programmes offer students a route into an industry by combining a recognised qualification with professional development and practical experience to give their careers a real kick-start.

The structured learning programmes combine classroom learning with on-the-job training. It’s all about taking on real responsibilities while gaining the skills and experience needed to succeed.


How can I get involved?

Whether you’re looking to hire an apprentice or you’d like to become one, visit the Skills Funding Agency website to find out how to get involved.

How do I qualify?

If you’re an employer offering an apprenticeship you need to:

  • employ an apprentice for a minimum of 30 hours per week;
  • pay at least the national minimum wage for apprentices;
  • induct the apprentice and support their on-the-job learning using skills and knowledge in the workforce; and
  • be involved in reviewing the progress of an apprentice.

As an employer you’ll get support from a training organisation to:

  • identify the apprenticeship that fits your business needs;
  • recruit an apprentice;
  • develop a training plan that reflects what the apprentice needs and what you need;
  • review and test the progress of the apprentice and give feedback; and
  • provide training to support the knowledge elements of the programme.

You should think about including some or all of these in your apprenticeship:

  • On-the-job coaching and learning
  • Off-the-job learning
  • Induction and training
  • Online learning and support
  • Workbooks
  • Projects
  • Mentoring and line management support
  • Specific training for individuals
What is an apprenticeship framework?

Apprenticeships at all levels must be part of a framework;

  • It’s a document that covers all the legal requirements for an apprenticeship programme in England.
  • It’s used by colleges, employers and training providers to make sure that all apprenticeship programmes consistently meet national standards, no matter where in England the apprenticeship takes place.
  • It includes the names of all qualifications and what each qualification is worth (their ‘credit value’).
  • It gives guidance on how to get on to an apprenticeship programme, the time it'll take and career paths available after an apprenticeship.
How do I choose a training provider?

Most employers work in partnership with training providers to run their apprenticeship programme. A college or training provider will help you:

  • identify the right apprenticeship for your business;
  • recruit an apprentice;
  • develop a training plan that’s right for both of you;
  • review and test the progress of an apprentice and provide feedback; and
  • provide training to support the apprentice with off-the-job learning and the knowledge elements of the programme

A training provider usually holds the apprenticeship delivery contract, which is managed by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).

You can find the most suitable training provider for your business by thinking about:

  • your area of business and the job role - ask them about potential frameworks and levels;
  • the size and scope of the programme (such as numbers, geography and age groups); and
  • whether you can include in-house training materials in the programme.

Once you’ve chosen a training provider, you should create a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to help build a close working relationship. The SLA sets out the responsibilities and duties you both have, and includes measures and deadlines that you’ll both follow. If you’re agreeing a financial contract, you’ll need a separate contract in addition to your SLA.

Where can I find out more about apprenticeships?

The government maintains a list of facts and figures about apprenticeships on their website.

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