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Information for Employers- Businesses

Why have an apprentice?

Apprenticeships are a great way for businesses to improve the skills of their employees.

You can use apprenticeships to recruit new employees, and you can also use apprenticeships to retrain or upskill existing staff of all ages and levels of experience, in a wide variety of roles. You can use apprenticeships to provide training that is tailored to the needs and requirements of your business. This can be through workplace learning and formal training.

Apprenticeships can be used as part of your strategic workforce planning, to promote a diverse and inclusive workforce and support recruitment and retention.

You can benefit from hiring an apprentice in the following ways:

Apprenticeships deliver skills designed around your business needs providing the skilled workers you need for the future. They also help you develop the specialist skills you need to keep pace with the latest technology and working practices in your sector.

 86% of employers said apprenticeships developed skills relevant to their organisation and 78% reported improved productivity.

Other benefits that apprenticeships contribute to your organisation include:

  • 90% of apprentices stay on in their place of work after completing an apprenticeship
  • You can adapt the training your apprentice receives according to the needs of your organisation
  • An apprenticeship allows you to diversify and freshen up your workforce

You can employ an apprentice who’s aged 16 up to any age and from any background.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprentice is an employee that works alongside your staff to gain the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to be fully competent in their chosen occupation.

Apprenticeships combine work with practical training and study, both on-the-job and off-the-job. You, as the employer, would provide on-the-job learning, whilst Priory Apprenticeships provide the off-the-job training.

Apprentices are assessed at the end of their apprenticeship to establish if they are occupationally competent in their role. This is called an end-point assessment.

Apprenticeships cover a number of roles and educational levels, from level 2 (equivalent to 5 GCSE passes at grades 9 to 4 or A* to C) up to degree level.

Businesses employ staff in a wide range of roles which could suit an apprenticeship. They can be used to upskill or retrain current employees or to recruit new employees.

Examples of apprenticeships that could be suitable for a business setting include:

  • Business Administration
  • HR Support
  • IT Communications
  • First Line Management (Team Leader)
  • Coaching
  • Property Maintenance

Who can we take on as an apprentice?

Apprenticeships are for everyone, not just for young people and new recruits. All apprentices can benefit from government funding to support their apprenticeship as long as they are:

  • 16 years old and above
  • employed in a real job
  • training for at least 12 months
  • spending at least 20% of their time on off-the-job training (for example, being mentored or coached or completing formal training or qualifications)
  • paid at least the relevant national minimum wage for apprentices (though can be paid more)

Apprentices can be full-time or part-time employees. Find out more about employing an apprentice.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) provides more information about apprenticeship occupational maps and new apprenticeships in development.

Apprenticeship funding

Please see our dedicated section called ‘funding an apprenticeship’ for information about incentive payments to employers, and the levy.

What does off-the-job training mean?

In England, all apprentices must spend at least 20% of their time in off-the-job training. This means time that is spent training and learning during their ordinary working hours that is separate from their work duties.

The minimum requirement for 20% off-the-job training is designed to ensure high quality apprenticeships that develop the knowledge, skills, and behaviours needed to become occupationally competent.

English and Maths are integral to all apprenticeships and, where applicable, apprentices will be supported to gain these skills. Any English and maths training and study is in addition to the 20% minimum off-the-job training.

Any off-the-job training must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship. It can include training that is delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work, such as mentoring, work shadowing or practical training. It can also include attending courses, lectures or workshops off-site or online.

Off-the-job training can be delivered in a flexible way to suit the needs of the apprentice, employer and training provider.

For example, the minimum 20% does not have to be fixed as one day a week, every week. The employer and training provider can work together to plan how to include the 20% minimum requirement over the duration of the apprenticeship. An example could be blocks of training.

The employer and the training provider can work together to deliver different elements of off-the-job training.

Activities which are part of the apprentice’s day-to-day job do not count towards off-the-job training. This means that training providers and employers cannot claim planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) time, or line management meetings, as off-the-job training.

Read more about off-the-job training.

Apprenticeships for existing staff

Apprenticeships are a great way of supporting the development of existing staff in your organisation, and are not just for new recruits.

The apprenticeship should offer existing employees the opportunity to:

  • acquire substantive new skills
  • complete training that is different to any previous qualifications

Individuals can complete an apprenticeship even if they hold a higher level qualification.

For example, a colleague may already have a degree but could complete an apprenticeship in leadership or management if they are taking on a leadership role.

Before an apprenticeship begins, your training provider (Priory Apprenticeships) will conduct an initial assessment of the apprentice’s prior learning to ensure they are eligible and that an apprenticeship is an appropriate programme for them.