Apprenticeships Employers FAQ

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is your chance to employ an individual committed to learning and developing their skills within your organisation.  Typically an apprentice will be expected to work full-time, with opportunities for learning away from the immediate pressures of the working role to develop new knowledge, skills and behaviours. The best part is that an apprentice is a contracted employee meaning you get a full resource whilst investing in your future workforce needs.

We suggest that you consider the following points when deciding whether an apprenticeship is best for your organisation:

  • Where is there a need for additional resources in your organisation?
  • Who will be the mentor of your apprentice?
  • Will you need to invest in any extra facilities to accommodate your apprentice?
What is expected of the employer?

What is expected of the employer?

When taking on an apprentice, there are certain expectations that must be met by the both the employer and the apprentice. As the employer, you are expected to:

  • Pay the minimum wage for an apprentice
  • Provide a full contract of employment for your apprentice
  • Offer the same benefits package to your apprentice as other employees
  • Arrange for a workplace mentor for your apprentice
  • Deliver a safe working environment
  • Ensure opportunities are made available to allow the learning of new skills and knowledge within the apprentice’s contracted working hours*
  • Ensure the apprentice is given opportunities within contracted working hours to develop maths and English skills, where a GCSE grade A-C (or higher) has not been previously attained
How is the Apprenticeship funded?
A National Minimum Wage for apprentices was introduced on 1 October 2010. The wage applies to all apprentices aged under 19; and apprentices aged 19 or over in the first year of their Apprenticeship.

As of April 1st 2019 the apprentice minimum wage is £3.90 per hour and applies to time working, plus time spent training that is part of the Apprenticeship. Employers are free to pay above the new wage and many do so, but employers must ensure that they are paying their apprentices at least the minimum wage.If an apprentice is on a higher wage, the employer must continue to pay that for the remainder of the training or until the apprentice becomes eligible for the full national minimum wage.

Full government funding is available for an apprentice aged between 16-18 years old and where the employer employs less than 50 employees. Full funding is also available for apprentices aged 19 to 24 who have either been in care or has an education health care plan.

An employer contribution fee will be required for:

  • Non-levy paying employers recruiting an apprentice aged 19 or over
  • Non-levy paying employers who employ more than 50 employees and recruit a 16-18 year old apprentice

Payment plans and schedules  can be discussed with our apprenticeship Account Managers prior to signing contracts. For more information about apprenticeship contribution fees please contact one of our Apprenticeship Advisers  on 01206 712727.

Financial Information and Support

Government support

Employers are not required to pay National Insurance Contributions for apprentices under the age of 25 on earnings below the higher tax rate of £827 a week (£43,000 a year). From May 2017 the following incentives will also be available to employers who take on apprentices:

– £1,000 payment to both the employer and provider when they train a 16-18-year-old.
– £1,000 payment to both the employer and provider when they train a 19-24-year-old who has previously been in care or who has a Local Authority Education, Health and Care Plan.
– Employers with fewer than 50 people working for them will be able to train 16-18-year-old apprentices without making a contribution towards the costs of training. The government will pay 100% of the training costs for these individuals.

The apprenticeship levy

The levy was introduced on 6 April 2017 and is charged at a rate of 0.5% of an employers’ pay bill, paid through PAYE on a monthly basis.

Each employer has a levy allowance of £15,000, this is not a cash payment. It works in a similar way to the personal tax allowance and cannot be used to purchase apprenticeship training.

The impact of the allowance means that fewer than 1.3% of UK employers, those with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million, are liable to pay the levy. Employers in England who pay the levy
will be able to get out more than they pay in, through a 10% top-up to their online accounts.

An employer’s pay bill is made up of the total amount of the employees’ earnings that are subject to Class 1 National Insurance contributions, such as:

– wages
– bonuses
– commissions
– pension contributions

What about non-levy paying employers?

Employers with a pay bill of less than £3 million a year will not need to pay the levy.

At least 90% of non-levy paying employers’ apprenticeship training and assessment costs in England will be paid for by the government. The government will ask these employers to make a 10% contribution to the cost, paid directly to the provider, and the government covers the rest. This cost will be spread over the lifetime of the apprenticeship.

The government is offering additional support to organisations with fewer than 50 employees* by paying 100% of training and assessment costs for their apprentices aged 16-18 and for those aged 19-24 formerly in care or with a local authority education, health and care plan.

The government will also pay employers, no matter what size, £1,000 for each 16-18 year old apprentice they employ.