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 a degree apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a way for people 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 their 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 twenty-first 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.
Why engage in apprenticeships?
Many employers will find themselves in the position of not having utilised the apprenticeship route for training historically but are now paying what could be a sizeable levy. So this is the first reason – to utilise funding that will otherwise be lost to your business.
But this isn’t the only or necessarily the best reason. There are over 300 apprenticeship standards available and the same in development, covering a vast range of occupational areas. The scope and choice is vast and growing all the time.
Apprenticeships are also no longer just to bring in new recruits at entry level. In fact, 40% of the apprenticeship standards are at a higher education level, including full degree apprenticeships and at master's level.
The most important reason is the benefit they can bring to your business. Research shows that:
- 87% of employers are satisfied that apprenticeships meet their business needs
- 76% saw a productivity increase as a result of engaging with apprenticeships
- from the apprentices’ perspective, an even higher proportion (97%) believed that the apprenticeship had improved their ability to do their job
- recruiting apprentices boosts staff commitment and aids retention
Employment terms and support
Apprentices must be employed and the conditions of apprentice employment include:
- Apprentices must hold a full employment contract with you for the duration of the apprenticeship programme, including End Point Assessment.
- Apprentices must be employed in a real job that gives them the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills they need to pass their assessment.
- Apprentices usually work full time for at least 30 paid hours a week and must work more than 16. When an apprentice works fewer than 30 hours per week, the length of their apprenticeship will be increased accordingly.
- You must pay your apprentice for time spent training or studying for a relevant qualification, whether while at work or at university. Off-the-job training must amount to 20% of the apprentice’s contracted employment hours across the whole apprenticeship.
- You must offer apprentices the same conditions as other employees working at similar grades or in similar roles. This includes holiday/sick pay and support offered (eg childcare vouchers). You cannot ask the apprentice to contribute towards the cost of their apprenticeship even if they leave before the end of their apprenticeship.
Further information about the role of the employer can be found in the government's guidance on employing an apprentice.
Employers also need to provide support to apprentices to achieve all their learning outcomes and particularly whilst in the workplace. In addition to support provided by their line manager, employers should allocate a workplace mentor to the apprentice who will support and guide them through their course. London Met tutors will build a good working relationship with the line manager and mentor to continually work together to ensure the apprentice successfully progresses through the course.
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.
In order to utilise the Apprenticeship Levy, all employers must sign a written agreement with the University which requires the Education and Skills Funding Agency rules and regulations to be adhered to. The apprenticeship team will discuss this with you.
If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to contact us.