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Employer Guide to Apprenticeships and Traineeships

31 January 2017 by Crystal HR & Payroll Ltd

Employer Guide to Apprenticeships and Traineeships

The business benefits

The benefits of apprenticeships and traineeships 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.  According to the British Chambers of Commerce, most employ an apprentice to improve the skills base within their business.

With the expansion of higher and degree apprenticeships businesses can now access the higher-level technical skills vital to business performance and growth. Employers have the opportunity to attract new talent, offer progression and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.  Also, by offering traineeships, businesses have the opportunity to build a pool of high-quality future recruits for their sector, while helping young people take their first steps toward employment.Construction apprentice

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is first and foremost a job with substantial training and the development of transferable skills. It is a way for people of all ages to earn while they learn, gaining real skills and knowledge and a real future.  Hiring apprentices is a productive and effective way for businesses to grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

Apprenticeships are available to businesses of all sizes and sectors in England, and can last anything from 12 months to 5 years.

Apprenticeships are available in 1,500 occupations, across 170 industries.

A training organisation – college, training provider or university – will work closely with you to ensure that the apprenticeship offered is the most appropriate for the individual’s job role, whilst reflecting individual employer and learner needs.

Most of the training is on the job, working with a mentor to learn jobspecific skills in the workplace.  Off the job training will depend on the occupational area, the training organisation and the requirements and wishes of the employer. This training may be delivered in the workplace, through ‘day release’ or at premises away from the working environment.  With degree apprenticeships learners achieve a full bachelor’s or master’s degree as part of their programme.  On completion of the apprenticeship the apprentice must be competent in the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to undertake a full range of duties appropriate to the job. They must perform tasks confidently and completely to the standard set by the industry.  Employment is a fundamental part of an apprenticeship.  An apprentice must be employed in a job role with a productive purpose.

What are the apprenticeship employer’s responsibilities?

As the employer you must give your apprentice an induction into their role and provide on-the-job training.  You are responsible for paying your apprentice’s wages and issuing their contract of employment. As an employee, the apprentice receives the same benefits as other employees.  By employing an apprentice, you have certain requirements to meet.Catering apprentice

  • Issuing a contract of employment and paying at least the Apprenticeship National Minimum Wage Apprentices under 19, or who are in the first year of their apprenticeship, must be paid a minimum of £3.40 per hour or £3.50 per hour from April 2017.  All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age i.e. £5.55 per hour for apprentices aged 18-20 or £5.60 per hour from April 2017, and £7.20 per hour or £7.50 per hour from April 2017 for those 21 and over. Many businesses pay more.
  • The Minimum hours for employment for an apprentice should be at least 30 hours per week. By exception, where the individual’s circumstances or the particular nature of employment in a given sector makes this impossible, then an absolute minimum of 16 hours must be met.  In such cases the duration of the apprenticeship should be extended.
  • All apprentices must have an Apprenticeship Agreement between the employer and the apprentice.
  • Provide apprentices with the same benefits as other employees.

What is a Traineeship?

A traineeship is an education and training programme with work experience that unlocks the potential of young people, aged 16 to 24, and prepares them for their future careers by helping them to become ‘work ready’.  Traineeships last up to a maximum of six months and include:

  • A meaningful, high quality, work experience placement of at least 100 hours* with an employer.
  • Work preparation training delivered by a training organisation which can include CV writing, interview preparation and interpersonal skills.
  • English and maths qualifications if required.

In addition to these basic elements, you and the training organisation can add other features to meet the needs of your business and the local labour market.  This could include a relevant, industry specific vocational qualification. 

All training costs are met by government funding.

What are the responsibilities of the employer?

You will need to commit to a high quality work experience placement, lasting at least 100 hours* over a maximum of 6 months. This should include:

  • Pre-agreed content and objectives between your company, the training organisation and the trainee, where they learn through doing and working.
  • Trainees should receive support and training from an identified mentor in the business, receiving regular constructive feedback.
  • Ideally an interview for a position or apprenticeship, or an exit interview with written feedback.
  • Employers are not required to pay trainees but are encouraged to support them with expenses such as transport and meals.

Who is involved?

  • The National Apprenticeship Service supports a partnership between the employer, training organisation and apprentice and is part of the Skills Funding Agency.
  • The Skills Funding Agency has a network of quality assured contracted training organisations, who deliver apprenticeship off-thejob training. Each training organisation is open to independent assessments.
  • The employer will normally work with a training organisation who will support the delivery of the training programme and deliver additional skills and knowledge required to complete the apprenticeship, through an agreed training plan.Group apprentices

Higher and degree apprenticeships

Higher and degree apprenticeships were introduced to provide employers with the high level skills most critical for growth.  The Government’s ambition is for it to become the norm for young people to achieve their career goals by going into an apprenticeship or to university – or in the case of some higher and degree apprenticeships – doing both.  Developed by employers for employers, higher and degree apprenticeships enable businesses to train more of their employees in the high-level industry specific skills that are critical for growth in the UK and internationally.  Higher and degree apprenticeships include a range of qualifications at a range of levels from the equivalent of a foundation degree to a bachelor’s degree and even master’s degree level in some sectors.

Higher and degree apprenticeships are widening access to the professions and allowing young people and adults to earn while they learn at the highest level and progress into higher skilled occupations.

How do I recruit an apprentice or trainee?

  1. Decide on your requirements with an advisor and drive applications through National Apprenticeship Service free Find an apprenticeship or Find a traineeship recruitment service.
  2. Design your own traineeship programme to help young people become ‘work ready’ and secure an apprenticeship or employment.  Deliver the apprenticeship or traineeship, working with a training organisation to reduce the burden on your business.  Develop your apprentices and enter them into awards and competitions to put your business on the map.

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