Employment + skills Employment + skills

Apprenticeships combine working with studying to gain skills and knowledge in a specific job. Apprentices can be new or current employees.

Apprentices usually work at least 30 hours a week and must be paid at least the appropriate National Minimum Wage rate for an apprentice (which varies according to their age).

Most apprenticeships are delivered as partnerships between employers and training organisations and have a set structure and course content, which usually takes between one and four years to complete. There are around 200 different types of apprenticeships on offer covering areas such as business, administration, agriculture, construction, health, retail and much more. For a full list, please click here.  A new Apprenticeship Levy is being introduced this spring (2017). Some employers will be required to contribute to a new Apprenticeship Levy, and there will be changes to the funding for apprenticeship training for all employers for more information please click here.

There are a variety of business benefits relating to taking on an apprentice:

  • Business owners usually employ an apprentice to improve the skills available within their firm.
  • It has been reported that the average person completing their apprenticeship increases business productivity by over £200 a week.
  • Employers that offer apprenticeships report that they help with the longer-term development of the business.
  • Apprentices can help your business prepare for the future.

You can read more information about the benefits of recruiting an apprentice to your business

The Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education have also published information for employers on apprenticeships.

How to hire an apprentice

Our step-by-step guide explains how to hire an apprentice.

Employers intending to take on an apprentice can advertise their vacancy free of charge on the National Apprenticeship Service’s apprenticeship vacancies website, which will enable them to reach over half a million potential apprentices who are searching for a vacancy.

The apprenticeships journey for small businesses – click here

The apprenticeship journey for apprentices – click here

Find out the correct National Minimum Wage for apprentices to help with your planning. You can also find out more about employing staff.

Find apprenticeship training

You can use our Find apprenticeship training tool to find appropriate training for your apprentices.

Some suggested questions businesses could use when selecting a training provider to work with – click here

Employers who want to directly deliver training to their own employees must be registered on the register of apprenticeship training providers (RoATP). Our guidance explains the process for employers who want to directly deliver training to their apprentices.

All apprenticeship standards must contain an end-point assessment. You can find out more about end-point assessments.

The University of Essex is proud to announce a new apprenticeship scheme that brings together the best of vocational and higher education. Supported by Essex Workforce Partnership and Health Education East of England,  The School of Health and Human Sciences is offering a Higher Apprenticeship for Assistant Practitioners. Higher apprentices at the University of Essex will complete their apprenticeship with a foundation degree but also with the reassurance that they have completed training that has met a nationally recognised “professional” standard, enabling them to work with confidence and increased autonomy.

How apprenticeships are funded

Employers can get government funding to cover some of the cost of training and assessing an apprentice if you’re based in England.

The amount of money you receive depends on if your annual pay bill is over £3 million and whether you subsequently pay the apprenticeship levy or not. You can read more about the costs and funding you can receive.

Employer guide to apprenticeships

This guide gives employers the information and benefits of recruiting apprentices to their business. It also provides hints and tips on how to realise the benefits that apprenticeships deliver, how to measure the success of your apprenticeship programme, and some inspiring stories from employers.

The benefits of apprenticeships are becoming increasingly obvious to more and more businesses. It’s a fact that apprenticeships develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. Businesses that offer apprenticeships view them as beneficial to their long-term development.

To find out more on becoming an apprenticeship employer please complete the enquiry form or call 08000 150 600.

DOWNLOAD – Employer guide to apprenticeships

DOWNLOAD – Achieving the benefits of apprenticeships

Manage your apprenticeship

As an employer you can use an online tool called the apprenticeship service to view your apprenticeship levy funding, recruit apprentices and manage apprenticeships.

Read more about using the apprenticeship service and the benefits to your business.


A traineeship is an education and training programme with work experience that unlocks the potential of young people to prepare them for their future careers.

Trainee work placements are designed to give young people work experience to get them ready for work or an apprenticeship.

Placements must last at least 100 hours. If your trainee gets unemployment benefits the placement can’t last longer than 8 weeks.

You don’t have to pay trainees or give them expenses, but you can if you want to.

Find out how your business can offer traineeships to young people. You can also read more about how employers can support traineeships.

T Level industry placements

T Levels are 2 year technical courses for young people age 16 to 19 that will be available from 2020. They combine classroom theory, practical learning and a substantial industry placement to make sure students have the real experience of the workplace. Industry placements are being implemented now in readiness for the rollout of T Levels.

You can find out more about T Levels on GOV.UK. You can also find out more about industry placements.

For more detailed information about industry placements and how to get involved, contact the employer helpline on 0800 015 0600 (free from landlines and mobiles) or email tlevel.placement@education.gov.uk.

Employing learners with SEND

The Education & Training Foundation have published guidance for employers who employ people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The Preparing for Adulthood website contains an employers guide to employing people with a learning disability.

The Department for Education (DfE) has published guidance on how to provide supported internships for young people with special education needs and an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

A single webpage has been published to explain to businesses how they get involved with work-based education. This guide brings together information for employers wanting to get involved in work-based education https://www.gov.uk/guidance/support-for-employers-on-education-and-skills