Last Updated: Thursday, February 6, 2014

Employer FAQ

Click on the questions below to see their corresponding answers.


What if I can't find an Apprenticeship for my sector?

So far, over 190 types of Apprenticeships are available - and more are being developed. If you are unsure then contact the College and we will help you identify what is available and potentially appropriate for your job role. Contact 01724 295363 or

How long does it take?

The length of an Apprenticeship varies depending on prior skills/experience levels and qualifications of the apprentice and the apprenticeship framework itself. Generally, Apprenticeships take between one and three years to complete.

What does it involve?

An Apprenticeship includes the following components:

  • A minimum of 30 hours per week paid employment including time for College attendance and/or apprenticeship qualification work.
  • A knowledge based qualification.
  • A competency based qualification.
  • Functional skills – maths, English and sometimes IT.
  • A module on employment rights and responsibilities.

What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprentices are aged 16 or over and combine working with studying for a work-based qualification - from GCSEs or equivalent up to degree level.
Apprentices can be new or current employees.
You must pay the apprentice at least the minimum wage during their placement with you.
Your apprentice must:

  • work with experienced staff
  • learn job-specific skills
  • study for a work-based qualification during their working week, eg at a college or training organisation or in the workplace

Is there an upper age limit for Apprenticeships?


Business Benefits

What evidence is there that hiring an apprentice is good for my business?

The Learning and Skills Council recently surveyed businesses throughout the UK on benefits of hiring an apprentice (Populus, January 2009). Of those surveyed:

  • 81% said that employing apprentices generated higher overall productivity for their company.
  • 66% said that their Apprenticeship programme made them more competitive in their industry.
  • 92% said that their Apprenticeship programme better motivated staff and increased job satisfaction.
  • 74% said that apprentices tended to be more loyal, remaining at their company longer than non-apprentices.

My business is struggling to make ends meet as it is with the recession. How is taking on an apprentice going to help my businesses manage through it?

Even if you feel you cannot support the employment of an apprentice you may be able to consider a ‘shared apprenticeship’. If you believe you can only offer a short term period such as 3, 6 or 9 months then think about a shared apprenticeship. Our local Apprenticeship Training Agency can employ the apprentice and you can take them on placement. The apprentice will then be moved on to another employer/s to be able to complete the full apprenticeship. Ask us for further information 01724 295363. Please note these opportunities need to be apprenticeship opportunities not just to fill short term employment needs.

However even in difficult times, Apprenticeships are a vital way of improving the skills of staff and generating a committed and valuable workforce. When times are tough, competition for contracts is even tougher. That's when a well-trained, extra pair of hands could make a real difference to your chances of success.

Apprentices can also help you ready your businesses for when the economy comes out of recession, your business grows, if your workforce is ageing you face skills shortages in the future, and generally injecting new blood into your business. By offering a flexible resource that can help your business grow, apprentices can also give you a competitive advantage to exploit new business growth opportunities.

Do I receive any monetary incentives to take on an apprentice?

Employers do not receive a direct monetary incentive to take on apprentices unless you meet specific eligibility criteria. Funding changes so please contact us to find out more on 01724 295463.

However, the training costs of an apprenticeship are subsidised in full, or in part, by the through national funding.

Why would I want to take on an apprentice?

Because it is good business. Skills shortages are still one of the biggest threats to UK business. Apprenticeships can help businesses across all industries by offering a route to harness fresh talent. If you have trained staff with the right skills for the job they can do a wider range of tasks and take on new responsibilities - this can help to reduce skill shortages, minimise staff turnover and workplace accidents, and increase productivity.
Taking on an apprentice is cost effective because your people can learn while they're on the job and the government contributes to the costs of learning.

Types of Apprenticeships

What types of Apprenticeships are there?

There are more than 190 job roles available for apprentices ranging from accountancy to engineering, construction to business administration to motor vehicle.

They generally fall into one of three categories:

  • 'Intermediate Apprenticeships' equivalent to Level 2 (or GCSE level).

  • 'Advanced Apprenticeships' equivalent to Level 3 (or A-levels).

  • 'Higher Apprenticeships' - equivalent up to degree.

Which Apprenticeships are most in demand?

Some of the most popular Apprenticeships at present are: Engineering, Business Administration, Construction, Motor Vehicle, leadership and management.

Costs and Funding

Is there a cost for employers?

All employed apprentices must receive a wage. Some employers offer higher wages and some offer increases in wages once you are employed as an apprentice.  This provides up to date information on apprentice wages.

There is also the cost of the supervision, support and mentoring that you will need to put in place to support the apprentice. These associated costs are not insignificant - however, the Apprenticeship funding will match employer's commitment to hiring apprentices by covering in full, or in part, the training costs.

Training and Employment

How often do apprentices attend college or training sessions?

This varies from programme to programme. Some of the training can be in the work place and other sessions could be in college. Depending on the type of job being done, or the elements of training being undertaken, it could be one day a week or a block release. Some apprentices do not attend College or our training centres at all during their apprenticeship. Employers need to be aware that the hours an individual is employed for do need to include time to do their qualifications studies, including gathering of evidence, College attendance and time with their assessor. Apprentices will need to achieve a skills and knowledge based qualification/s; functional skills if required (English, maths and sometimes IT); and an employee’s rights module. Requirements are set within the specific apprenticeship framework.

I have an employee keen to do an apprenticeship. Can I still take them on as an apprentice?

Yes. Please contact us before you employ a new apprentice to ensure both the individual is eligible for funding, and the job role can fulfil the apprenticeship requirements.

Are apprentices eligible for maternity leave?

Yes. Like all employees, apprentices are entitled to statutory Maternity Leave with statutory Maternity Pay.

What are the minimum and maximum work hours for an apprentice?

An apprentice must be offered a minimum of 30 hours of work per week to complete their Apprenticeship. Generally, however, most apprentices are employed full time.

Aspects of the employment agreement like how many hours an apprentice is expected to work and what breaks they are entitled to is determined by the employer and the apprentice.

The College will agree a service level agreement with an employer which clarifies key requirements.

Is there a limit to the number of apprentices that an employer can take on?

No they can take on as many as they need - and often in more than one framework.

Does my apprentice have to work full-time?

No, however they must work an average of 30 hours or more per week.

Do I have to give my apprentice holidays?

Like most other employees, apprentices must be given at least 20 days' paid holiday per year as well as bank holidays.

What's the role of learning providers?

A learning provider is usually a local college or specialist training organisation responsible for an apprentice's training and development to support the apprentices achievement of the qualifications within the framework. When you take on an apprentice you will need to appoint a manager/mentor who will work with the apprentice and College Assessor to make sure that the training and work experience is well planned. Once the apprentice begins the mentor will follow their progress and deal with any issues that may arise.

Do apprentices pay tax and national insurance?

As is the case of all employees aged over 16, apprentices must still pay tax and national insurance on their income.

Do apprentices take exams?

Most assessment is carried out in the workplace but there may be a requirement to take some tests.

What are my responsibilities as the employer?

You must give your apprentice an induction into their role and provide on-the-job training. As with all employees, you are also responsible for the wages of your apprentice. Apprentices are employed as an employee and therefore have employment rights and should be managed as an employee.

Apprenticeship Vacancies - General

What is Apprenticeship Vacancies?

The College can support an employer to recruit an apprentice. We do this through:

  • Current College students who are interested in an apprenticeship

  • The National Apprenticeship Service vacancy website

  • Individuals who apply direct to the College for an apprenticeship

  • Other College contacts

Apprenticeship Vacancies is an online service whereby employers and learning providers can advertise and manage vacancies, and potential apprentices can search, apply and then manage their applications.


The system is an important part to make services simpler and less bureaucratic to access. It is free and available on the Apprenticeships website at:

Who is Apprenticeship vacancies for?

The system is free and available to anyone wanting to be an apprentice or for any employer or learning provider who want to advertise their placements.

How to find out more

Contact the business development team at or 01724 281111


Further information about apprenticeships can be found on​urther-education-ski​lls/apprenticeships.


Do you have other business training needs?