Employer FAQ's

A learning programme in which the student gains significant new knowledge and skills while in employment.

All Apprentices should be paid at least the National Minimum Wage per hour using either the NMW for Apprentices or NMW for their specific age group. For Apprentices aged 19+ the Apprenticeship National Minimum Wage only applies for the first year of the apprenticeship, and must be adjusted to minimum wage according to age thereafter, even if a change of employer occurs in the first year. Similarly, any apprentice recruited at the age of 19 years old receives NMW for an apprentice for the first year, rising to NMW for their age group in year two. Any apprentice aged 16 – 25 years old is exempt from paying National Insurance contributions when earning £827.00 per week, therefore saving the employer an additional expense of National Insurance Employer Contributions.

The funding rules can be found online here

However the basic rules are as follows:

  • Non-Levy – Companies with an annual payroll of less than £3m, fall into this category. In this instance the
    ESFA pays 95% of the cost of the apprenticeship and the Employer is responsible for the remaining 5% - this is called co-investment. This 5% is paid to the college in monthly instalments over the duration of the apprenticeship. Failure to adhere to this will result in the withdrawal of the apprentice from the programme, therefore their apprenticeship is terminated
  • Levy – Those companies with a salary bill of more than £3m paying into a Levy pot will fund apprenticeships from this pot. The Government will then top the pot up with 5% of the amount of the Levy payment. Where the apprenticeship is more than is in the pot, the 5% co-investment will apply
  • For organisations with less than 50 employees, who employ an apprentice aged 16-18 at the start of their apprenticeship, the Government will cover 100% of the cost.
  • For the transfer of an apprentice, the 10% co-investment is continued in the payment schedule for initial apprenticeship contracts signed and in place prior to 1st April 2019. Funding and costing is dependent on the initial apprenticeship start date.

For a minimum of 30 hours a week. 20% of this time must be ‘paid off the job training’ – this may include one day a week in college, however, a range of activities can be included in this ‘paid off the job training’ to contribute to the 20%. This can include e-learning, shadowing, training in the work place, industry visits, completing assignments or assessed work, mentoring, preparation for and participation in skills competitions, manufacturer training, lectures, and practical training. Training related to Maths and English  which is required for some apprentices is not included in the 20%.

Yes, their attendance at College is incorporated into the hours of their contract i.e. 30 hours per week therefore, this is included in their weekly wage. Their College day is classed as a working day.

There are a number of key actions which must be completed before the apprenticeship can start:

  • Initial Assessment
  • Workplace Assessment (Health & Safety Form)
  • Contract Signed
  • Enrolment Form completed
  • Employment Reference Number Verified (ERN)

When all of these actions are completed, a start date for the apprenticeship will be agreed. For some apprenticeships where college attendance is a requirement the start date for college is likely to be at the beginning of a new half term. These dates will be confirmed in your Welcome Letter. Your welcome letter will be emailed to the email address provided.

A Skills Coach/Assessor will come and visit you Apprentice every eight weeks for progress reports and assessment.

You can contact the Apprenticeship Skills Coach allocated to you and your apprentice – they are here to aid you in any concerns you have with the Apprentice and are happy to offer support in whatever way they can.

Each apprentice receives the same terms and conditions of employment as everyone else in the workplace. They become a member of your workforce and are entitled to the same benefits as your staff.

This includes:

  • At least 20 days paid holiday a year plus eight Bank Holidays or 28 days if working 35 hours a week
  • 30-34 hours per week, worked out on pro-rata basis. Click here for advice:
  • Sick pay entitlement
  • Tax Credits
  • Statutory Maternity/Paternity Pay and maternity/paternity leave
  • Any benefits you offer such as childcare voucher schemes
  • Any support you offer such as coaching or mentoring

Apprentices must not be left unsupervised. The level of immediate supervision will depend on the work carried out
and risk determined. The greater the risk, the greater the level of supervision required however, a manager or
responsible person must always be on site and available to support the apprentice. In cases where this is not
possible, the level of risk will determine the length of time and responsibility the apprentice has during this time spent

A mentor is a “go to” competent and capable person, someone to provide professional and personal support, to
listen and challenge, answer questions, encourage independent thinking and to maintain boundaries and principles, etc. They do not replace the apprentice’s line manager but may be the same person. Some apprenticeships require the mentor to provide feedback, witness statements, progression information within the programme workbook.

When it comes to having an employee including an apprentice, it is imperative you get it right from a wage and tax point of view right from the very start. Therefore, we can only advise you consult your own accountant or visit the following websites for additional advice and support:

This grant is payable direct from the government to the employer and uses the PAYE system to ensure the apprentice has been employed within the timeframe (April 2021 – September 2021) and not six months prior, using the online government website. (.gov). It is paid in two equal instalments at month six and month 15. This grant is for each apprentice employed. You must create an Apprenticeship Service Account linked to your PAYE (and the Pensions Regulator) in order to claim the grants.

Off-the-job training must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship standard and must take place within the apprentice's normal working house, it can include:

Teaching of theory - lectures

Simulated exercises and role play

Attendance at competitions

Manufacturer training e.g. new equipment of technologies

Learning support provided by employer or the provider

Some online learning e.g. webinar or blended learning 

Shadowing or being mentored

Practical training

Visiting the employer's other departments 

Time spent by the apprentice writing assessment/assignments 

Industry visits or visiting other companies or suppliers