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Hiring an Apprentice – Everything You Need To Know

Apprenticeships have grown in profile over recent years with successive governments investing funds to support employers, training providers and the apprentice. This has been part of a wider drive to address skills shortages in the UK and tackle youth unemployment. Indeed, the government has recently set the goal of three million more apprentices by the end of this parliament. 

Depending on who you believe, businesses have been largely receptive to these efforts. 

  • 89% believe having an apprentice has made their business more productive.
  • 75% of apprentice employers agreed that hiring in this way reduced recruitment costs.

It’s not just your bottom line that can benefit from hiring an apprentice. Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to bring in new talent and fresh perspective. You’re also likely to see greater loyalty – as you’ve committed to your apprentice’s skills and confidence within the organisation.

Vicky Peat, head of business support at CUB UK Ltd agrees. “I would definitely champion apprenticeships. They’re a great way of recruiting fresh young talent. You get a diverse, dynamic look at things. We’ve found that people with no role-specific skills or work experience can come in with fresh eyes and inspire real innovation.”

Sound good? Here’s our step-by-step guide to hiring an apprentice for your business.


1. Understand what an apprenticeship is

First and foremost it’s vital that you understand that by hiring an apprentice you’re creating a job for them. You have a duty to treat them as an employee whilst also supporting and providing them with training.

Apprenticeships last 1-4 years. Uou can either create your own apprenticeship scheme or use an apprenticeship training agency. This is a good alternative if you want to hire an apprentice without committing to the time of a full apprenticeship.

Key things you’ll need to do:

  • Pay your apprentice at least minimum wage.
  • Give your apprentice the same employee rights as other employees.
  • Give your apprentices access to work with experienced staff to learn job-specific skills.
  • Support your apprentice in studying for a work-based qualification during their working week (this is usually provided by an external training provider you can partner with).
  • Provide an apprenticeship agreement (using the Government template).

You’ll need to decide what role an apprentice could undertake in your organisation and how you can support them to develop and grow in skills during their time with you.

2. Find out what apprenticeships are available and partner with a training organisation

There are frameworks and standards already in place for many industries and job roles. The next step is to search and choose one using the free government database.

Once you’ve found a relevant apprenticeship framework or standard, you can search by postcode for training providers that match and can deliver the work-based qualification to you apprentice and you can partner with.

3. See if your business is eligible for a grant or funding

If your business employs less than 50 people and your apprentice is aged 16-24 you may qualify for a £1500 small business grant through the National Apprenticeship Service. You can apply for this grant for up to five apprentices. There may also be funding available if you’re covering the formal qualification training as well, available via the National Apprenticeship Service.

4. Promote your apprenticeship

The training provider you partner with will list your apprenticeship on the Government portal. In order to attract the best talent, you may also wish to promote the apprenticeship opportunity as though you were recruiting any other job role – using other job sites. 

5. Select and hire your apprentice

Once you receive applications for your apprenticeship, you will meet and interview them and check their eligibility to undertake the apprenticeship with the training provider. Your chosen apprentice will start their role on the agreed start date once both parties have signed the apprenticeship agreement.

To start the ball rolling you can get in touch with the National Apprenticeship Service on 08000 150 600 or find out more online.

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