Thinking about hiring an Apprentice? You’ve come to the perfect place! As an End-Point Assessment Organisation, we’re passionate about apprenticeships and the amazing benefits they bring to businesses across the UK. We think that all companies should hire Apprentices, and we’re not afraid to shout about it!
So, if you’re an Employer interested in hiring an Apprentice, we’re here to help! We know that there are a few rules and regulations you need to get your head around, but we’re dedicated to guiding you through the process. Below, we’ve compiled all the information that you’ll need, from start to finish, in order to hire an Apprentice and take your business to the next level.
1. Why You Should Hire an Apprentice?
Hiring an Apprentice can benefit your business in so many ways. Apprenticeships are designed to train individuals with little or no experience to become fully competent workers who have all of the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours needed to excel in their occupation.
Here are just a few things your business will benefit from by hiring an Apprentice:
- An increase in productivity – according to research by the National Apprenticeship Service, a whopping 76% of Employers said that productivity in their workplace had improved because of implementing apprenticeship programmes. 75% of Employers also reported that hiring an Apprentice improved the quality of their product or service!
- A decrease in staff turnover – investing major time and energy into training your Apprentice helps secure their loyalty to your company and decrease your staff turnover. In fact, Whitbread, the UK’s largest hotel, restaurant and coffee shop operator, found that turnover rates for entry-level, back-office roles were reduced by 15% on the apprenticeship level. Additionally, nearly three-quarters of their Apprentices stayed with the company for more than 12 months, whereas only a quarter of other employees did.
- You contribute to your community – hiring an Apprentice helps combat youth unemployment in your area while also raising your company’s profile! According to a 2015 report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, five million consumers were more likely to buy from an Apprentice Employer, and one in four consumers would even pay more for goods and services from companies that employed Apprentices.
2. Take the Plunge and Pick Your Standard
The first step to hiring an Apprentice is to identify a role within your company which you would be happy to offer an Apprentice. After that, you can pick an Apprenticeship Standard at a suitable level that matches the job role that you’d like to offer. Before you go ahead, you must ensure that you can offer your Apprentice a role which has 30 paid hours a week or more throughout their entire programme. Your Apprentice’s hours will also include any Off-the-Job Training that they must undertake.
There are a huge variety of Apprenticeship Standards available across many sectors that could benefit you and your business. As an End-Point Assessment Organisation, we offer End-Point Assessment for standards across these sectors:
3. Check the Funding You’re Eligible For
Before hiring an Apprentice, you should check the government funding that you’re eligible for. If you’d like more information about government funding, then you can check out our article Apprenticeship Funding Rules: Your Ultimate Guide which Employers, Employer-Providers and Training Providers can use to navigate the funding rules. Here’s a short summary below:
The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in 2017 in order to encourage large Employers in the UK to get more involved in the funding and execution of apprenticeships. The Apprenticeship Levy is a tax on businesses with a pay bill of over £3 million. 0.5% of their annual pay bill is collected by the government and reserved to be used as funds for apprenticeship programmes. Funds from the Apprenticeship Levy not used by Employers are reallocated to other apprenticeship programmes.
Do you pay the Apprenticeship Levy?
If you’re hiring an Apprentice and already pay the Apprenticeship Levy, then you can collect your Levy money through setting up an account on the apprenticeship service. This service will allow you to manage your funding and pay Training Providers and End-Point Assessment Organisations for their services as well. You’ll have monthly instalments sent to your apprenticeship service account, and you’ll also receive a 10% top-up from the government.
What are funding bands?
All Employers will receive funding according to the funding band allocated to their Apprenticeship Standard. Funding bands refer to the maximum amount of money the government has allocated to fund each Apprenticeship Standard and ranges from £1,500 to £27,000. Funding bands are numbered from 1-30, with one band allocated to each Apprenticeship Standard. If you pay the Apprenticeship Levy and the costs of your apprenticeship go over the funding band maximum, then you’ll need to pay the difference with other funds from your own budget.
Are you exempt from the Apprenticeship Levy?
Employers who do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy will have to pay a co-investment rate of 5%. This means that the government will pay 95% of the costs of the apprenticeship up to the funding band maximum, and you’ll have to pay the remaining 5% of the costs. However, if the costs of the apprenticeship exceed the funding band maximum, then you’ll need to pay the difference.
4. Does Your Apprentice Tick All The Boxes?
Before hiring an Apprentice, you must check that they meet the following checklist. Your Apprentice must be:
- 16 years old or older;
- Out of full-time education;
- Live in England or the country where your company is based;
- Have the right to work in England or the country where the company is based;
- Spend at least 50% of their working hours in England or the country where your company is based.
If you’re an Employer based in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, it may be worth contacting your local apprenticeship authority to find out more details:
5. Find Your Perfect Training Provider
Next, you should find a Training Provider for your Apprentice that offers training for your selected Apprenticeship Standard. The Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers is a great place to start looking, as it contains an extensive list of Training Providers who are eligible to train Apprentices.
If you’re based in England, you can also use the find apprenticeship training tool from gov.uk. Simply click on the link and search for an Apprenticeship Standard by job role or keyword. When you click on your chosen standard you can then start finding a Training Provider. If you already know the name of a Provider which you might be interested in using, then you can also find a Training Provider directly by name.
6. Spread the Message and Advertise Your Apprenticeship
After you’ve chosen your Training Provider, you’ll need to advertise your apprenticeship vacancy and wait for those applications to roll in! Conveniently, you won’t have to do this yourself, as your Training Provider will do this for you through the find an apprenticeship service.
Top Tip: If you’re writing the job description for your Apprentice, include the same details that you would if advertising for a normal job role. Outline the desired qualities that you’d like in a candidate, include a job title, and describe the main duties that your Apprentice will be undertaking along with the purpose of their role.
7. Interview Your Batch of Candidates
Interview your Apprentice candidates as you would any other candidate. Make sure you prepare a list of questions you can use to fairly assess their personality and competence that allows them to show the very best of themselves. If you already have a bank of questions that you use for the role that you’re advertising, you can also use those in your interviews.
Top Tip: Apprentices don’t need to have any former work experience to apply for or enrol in an apprenticeship, so they may not have any. By putting more value on their character than their CV, you’ll have a better chance of finding the right candidate.
8. Pick Your Winner and Sign those Contracts
After you’ve picked the right candidate, you’ll need to sign an apprenticeship agreement with them. Your apprenticeship agreement will describe what you agree to do for your Apprentice, and will outline things like:
- How long you’ll employ them for;
- The type of training that you’ll give them;
- Their working conditions;
- The qualifications that they’re working towards.
You can write your own apprenticeship agreement, but the UK government also provides an apprenticeship agreement template that you can fill out instead.
You’ll also have to sign a commitment statement with your Apprentice and your Training Provider. Your commitment statement must include:
- The planned content of the apprenticeship programme and the schedule for training;
- What is expected and offered by you, the Employer, the Training Provider and the Apprentice;
- How to resolve queries or complaints.
9. Check How Much You Should Pay Your Apprentice
The minimum that you can pay your Apprentice is the National Minimum Wage, which is currently £3.90/hour. This rate applies to Apprentices who are under 19 and those who are over 19 in the first year of their apprenticeship.
If your Apprentice is over the age of 19 and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, then you’ll need to pay them the minimum wage rate for their age. So, for example, if your Apprentice is 20 and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, then you’ll need to pay them the minimum hourly rate for their age group. You can check the minimum wage rates here.
You must pay your Apprentices for their normal working hours, which includes training that is part of their apprenticeship, such as Off-the-Job Training. Apprentices are also entitled to the other benefits and pay that employees at your company receive who are at a similar level. This could include paid holidays and sick pay.
10. Pick Your End-Point Assessment Organisation
End-Point Assessment is the final test for Apprentices during their apprenticeship. This final test includes a mix of assessment activities that Apprentices must complete in order to pass their apprenticeship.
As an Employer, you’ll need to choose the End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) that will deliver your Apprentice’s End-Point Assessment. You can find an EPAO from the Register of End-Point Assessment Organisations.
We offer End-Point Assessment for a range of Apprenticeship Standards across multiple sectors. If you’re interested in using our services then you can fill in our contact form or alternatively give us a ring at (+44) 03333 583344. We’d be happy to help!
11. Support Your Apprentice throughout their Programme
There are many things that you can do to support your Apprentice as they begin to work for you. Some tips include:
- Providing them with a great induction to their role and making their introduction period as thorough as possible;
- Helping them feel comfortable in their surroundings and remaining approachable and open throughout their programme in case they have any questions or concerns;
- Offering support and training opportunities in order to show them that you’re dedicated to helping them with their personal and professional development.
You can read our Supporting Your Apprentice page for more advice!
End-Point Assessment Support
If your Apprentice is nervous about their End-Point Assessment, then don’t worry! We’ve got some articles that can help them ease their nerves, including How to Prepare for EPA and 5 Cool Ways to Get Into a Good EPA Mindset. We also offer a whole hive of resources that our Apprentices can use to learn more about their apprenticeship and what their End-Point Assessment will entail!
Here are some additional pages that you may find useful:
And there you have it! We hope this guide helps all interested Employers with hiring an Apprentice and taking their business to the next level!
If you’re interested in using us as your End-Point Assessment Organisation, then you can go to our End-Point Assessment Sectors page.
See you around The Hive!