Apprenticeships – navigating your way through the options

Emma DavisPosted 5 October 2017 By Emma Davis, HR Consultant In Human Resources

Apprenticeships are not a new concept; they have featured in the world of work for years. But for a scheme to be effective, it must benefit both the apprentice and the business.

Basic Requirements

Such schemes are typically based on an apprentice enjoying a good mix of on and off-the-job training and development, which ultimately leads to a work-based qualification.

Some employers achieve ‘approved training provider’ status but usually an organisation will use the services of an external agency to help recruit and support an apprentice throughout their placement.

The Apprenticeship Levy

Introduced in April 2017, employers with a paybill in excess of £3 million must pay 0.5% of their gross paybill into a levy ‘pot’ and will be able to draw up to £15k annually which is offset against the levy.

Non-paying companies will be able to obtain support to cover the cost of apprenticeship training however this will be a shared agreement between them and the government – known as ‘co-investment’. There won’t be access to the apprenticeship service online until sometime in 2018 so in the meantime these companies will pay a provider direct, who in turn will then prove to the government that the company has honoured its obligations.

Employing an Apprentice

It’s worth noting the following guidelines so that you employ an apprentice under the correct contractual arrangement in order to give you total flexibility:

A traditional ‘contract of apprenticeship’ would give the company less flexibility in terms of early termination. In this scenario, it is quite possible that an employer would have to pay compensation equivalent of the entire remainder of the apprenticeship plus potentially future loss of earnings – an expensive experience!
Working to an apprenticeship standard in accordance with the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 (ASCLA) would provide more flexibility and acts in a similar way to a typical contract of employment. The fixed-term element would still feature, but providing all the early termination/notice clauses were stated, it would present the employer with more options if things weren’t working out.  Note the difference!

During the apprenticeship Term

It’s important to compliment the external training and development with in-house technical and mentor support including a sound on-boarding process so the apprentice feels part of the organisation for the long-term.

Additional Information:

To discuss this or anything else please contact Emma Davies on 01793 818300 or send her an email

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