Whether you are already providing, or expressing interest in providing apprenticeships in your business through taking on a new recruit or training one of your existing employees, we hope that this information will help you understand the services and support which we can provide and the role you can play in the process.
What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a way for young people and adults to earn whilst in employment, often gaining accredited qualifications, evidenced assessment of their competence in the workplace and, in many cases, professional recognition. Hiring apprentices or utilising apprenticeship training for existing employees helps businesses to grow your own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.
The UK Government has a clear policy that apprenticeships should form a robust and high quality route through which people gain the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed for the country to thrive in a 21st century global economy. The Industrial Strategy, published in 2017, cited apprenticeships as a key driver in boosting the skills gaps and shortages facing the country and as such, this was a catalyst for the introduction of new apprenticeship Standards and the Apprenticeship Levy, a tax on UK business with a payroll of more than £3M which came into effect from April 2017.
The Government has produced guidance for employers about apprenticeships, which is a very helpful read, particularly if you are new to apprenticeships.
How long does an apprenticeship take?
The duration of the apprenticeship will depend on the ability of the individual apprentice, the apprenticeship standard being followed and your business needs.
The minimum duration of the apprenticeship is 12 months of training and in addition an End Point Assessment. Many apprenticeships will last longer but usually no more than five years if undertaking a degree or masters level apprenticeship.
During their apprenticeship, the apprentice will ideally be employed for at least 30 hours per week. If an apprentice is employed for less than this it is often still possible for them to undertake an apprenticeship but the length of the apprenticeship will usually be varied or extended to reflect this.
How much are apprentices paid?
The national minimum wage for apprentices who are either under 19 or are in the first year of their apprenticeship is £3.70 per hour with a minimum contract of 30 hours per week.
For apprentices who are over 19 and past the first year of their apprenticeship the minimum wage is £5.90 per hour for 18-20 year olds and £7.38 per hour for those aged 21 or over. Please see the Government’s website for more information.
It is deemed good practice and highly recommended for the retention and motivation of the apprentice to pay the going wage for the job they are doing, in the same way you would for any other employee.
What is my role as an employer of apprentices?
Apprentices are employed by you just like your other employees and they will have the same rights and responsibilities. Apprentices must be employed (not self- employed) and are entitled to the same holiday entitlement and other benefits as other employees within the organisation. Your apprentice will need to be supplied with an employment contract, detailing the terms and conditions of their employment, including paid time for “off the job” training with the University and you will need to give your apprentice opportunities to gain experience and to practice and develop their skills in the workplace.
The health and safety of the apprentice in the workplace is the responsibility of the employer. London Metropolitan assumes this responsibility when the apprentice is at the University. If required for their role it is expected that the employer provides Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the apprentice in the workplace and if needed in the University.
The apprentice must be covered under the Employer’s Liability Insurance policy and the University will require confirmation of this insurance prior to the commencement of the apprenticeship and at each renewal of the policy.
It is good practice that the employer allocates a workplace mentor to support the apprentice through their programme and that this person builds a good working relationship with the line manager of the apprentice and with key personnel within the University.
New Apprenticeship Standards
Apprenticeship Standards have been defined by employer groups, are recognised by industry and approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships. Each occupation will have a different Apprenticeship Standard, linked to a specific occupational level.
The Standards are designed to be rigorous, challenging and require a minimum of one year training. During their training the apprentice must have a minimum of 20% of their contractual hours spent ‘off the job’ and in learning. This does not necessarily mean they have to spend all this time at University as long as it is dedicated learning time.
Rather than a framework consisting of a set of quite rigid qualifications, a workplace assessment portfolio and functional skills, Standards start with a two page outline (in effect akin to a job description) and end with an End Point Assessment (EPA) plan. The EPA plan details what and how an apprentices will be assessed at the end of their programme in order to achieve their apprenticeship.
Some Standards define that a qualification or qualifications should be achieved as an outcome of the apprentices and some do not. There is no prescription of how and when the training is delivered as long as it supports the apprentice to achieve. This allows freedom for the training plan and delivery structure to be designed between the employer and training provider in a fit for purpose format. Again, although not all Standards require it, good practice would include continued assessment throughout the apprenticeship to ensure that the apprentice is on track and progressing through their programme.
As English and maths are vital life skills that underpin success in all careers, the achievement of English and maths at a minimum of level 2/GCSE remains a requirement of an apprenticeship if the apprentice does not already hold these qualifications. However, this is funded separately and is an additional aspect of an individual’s training plan.
All new Standards are published on the Institute for Apprenticeships website so companies, learners and trainers can access all of the relevant information.
If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to contact us.
London Metropolitan University and its predecessor institutions have a proud history of providing vocational education spanning more than a century.
We have strong continuing relationships with the widest range of professional bodies including amongst many others:
- British Psychological Society
- Chartered Institute of Credit Management
- Chartered Institute of IT (BCS)
- Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
- Chartered Institute of Marketing
- Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply
- Chartered Management Institute
- Health and Care Professions Council
- Royal Society of British Architects
- Royal Society of Chemistry