Apprenticeships FAQs

  • An apprenticeship is a job with training. Apprentices combine working with studying to gain skills and knowledge in a specific job role. Apprentices learn in the workplace and do ‘off the job’ training, using and practicing their new skills in a real work environment.
  • Apprenticeships are available at different levels, starting at Level 2 (equivalent to 5 GCSEs at A* -c or 9-4) and going up to Level 6 or 7 (equivalent to a degree). They are available in everything from Accountancy to Zoology so you can definitely find one that matches the skills your business needs.
  • Usually the apprenticeship training is provided by a college or other training provider. This might be at college or on your premises, it might be on a day-release or block-release basis and might include classroom learning, practical training, workshops, shadowing or industry visits.
  • You might recruit a person specifically to be an apprentice within your organisation, by advertising a job that is also an apprenticeship.
  • Your existing employees can also undertake an apprenticeship to gain new skills. This might be because they have changed job role, or the requirements of their job have changed, meaning that they need to develop significant new knowledge and skills to be fully competent.
  • All apprentices must be aged 16 or over on the date they start their apprenticeship (they may be 15 if they have very recently left school), there is no upper age limit. They must also have the right to work in England.
For more information please contact your chosen college.
  • 86% of employers surveyed said apprenticeships helped them to develop skills that are relevant to the needs of their organisation.
  • 69% said that it has helped staff retention.
  • Employers think that qualified apprentices are 15% more employable than those with other qualifications.
  • 65% of employers reported that all their recent apprentices remained working for them after they had completed their apprenticeship.
Source: Apprenticeships Evaluation, Department for Education 2017

For more information please contact your chosen college. 

You have to:

  • Treat an apprentice as you would any other employee, they have the same rights and responsibilities as other employees.
  • Pay the apprentice a wage that is at least the National Minimum Wage. For apprentices aged under 19 and/or in the first year of their apprenticeship this is lower than the standard National Minimum Wage for employees. NB you don’t have to pay National Insurance Contributions on earnings below the higher tax rate for apprentices who are under the age of 25.
  • Allow the apprentice to spend at least 20% of their working hours on formal ‘off-the-job’ training and make sure they have support and supervision at work, you might want to provide them with a mentor.
  • Make a contribution to the costs of the apprenticeship training and assessment, the cost will vary according to the size of your business, the age of the apprentice and the apprenticeship they are doing. If you are a large employer, you may already be paying the Apprenticeship Levy.
Ideally the apprentice will be a permanent employee, as a minimum they should have an employment contract that is for at least the minimum time required for them to complete their apprenticeship training and assessment. Zero hours or part-time contracts are fine too.
For more information please contact your chosen college. 
  • The Government has introduced a levy on larger employers (those with a pay bill of over £3 million a year) to fund apprenticeships.
  • The levy is collected by HMRC through the PAYE system and placed in a ‘digital account’ for the employer, along with a 10% ‘top up’ paid for by government.
  • Employers can use the levy in their digital account to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment, they can also pass on some of this funding to other employers to pay for their apprenticeships. For more information on transferring funds visit

For more information please contact your chosen college.

  • Employers who do not have to pay the levy can receive government support towards the costs of apprenticeship training and assessment. Government will pay 95% of the costs, the employer has to pay 5% as a cash contribution.
  • If your business employs fewer than 50 staff, government will pay 100% of apprenticeship training and assessment costs if your apprentice is aged 16-18 on the date they start their apprenticeship.

Employers who pay the apprenticeship levy and have unused apprenticeship funds, can transfer funds to other employers. For more information visit

For more information please contact your chosen college. 

  • If your apprentice is aged 16-18 years old (on the date they start their apprenticeship) then as their employer you will receive a payment of £1000 to help you meet the costs of supporting them through their apprenticeship.
  • If your apprentice is a care-leaver or has an Education Health and Care (ECH) plan from their local authority then they can be aged up to 24 and you will still receive this payment (young people who have specific educational, health and social needs may have an ECH plan which sets out the additional support that will be provided to help meet those needs.

For more information please contact your chosen college.

Apprenticeship standards

Designed by groups of employers, apprenticeship standards set out the knowledge, skills and behaviours the apprentice needs to be competent in a particular occupation. Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education is responsible for the development and approval of standards and works with employers to ensure a wide range of high-quality apprenticeship standards are available. All apprenticeship standards include an end-point assessment.

Apprenticeship frameworks

Apprenticeship frameworks are a series of work-related qualifications. There is no end-point assessment for this type of apprenticeship,  apprentices are assessed throughout their apprenticeship.

All apprenticeship frameworks will be withdrawn by 2020 and replaced by standards but you can still use frameworks until that date.

For more information please contact your chosen college. 

This applies to apprenticeship standards only.

Once the apprenticeship training is completed, an independent assessment will take place, this is called an ‘end-point assessment’. The assessment is the apprentice’s opportunity to demonstrate that they are genuinely competent in their occupation at the end of their training.

It also gives the apprentice the opportunity to demonstrate what they’ve learnt throughout the apprenticeship. 

Details of what is in an end-point assessment is set out in the assessment plan. This will include an assessment of the apprentice’s:

  • knowledge
  • skills
  • behaviours

Your apprentice can’t achieve an apprenticeship standard without satisfying all the requirements listed in the apprenticeship standard, including the end-point assessment.

For more information please contact your chosen college. 

You can get help from the Government to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment. The amount you get depends on whether you pay the apprenticeship levy or not. You will pay the apprenticeship levy if you’re an employer with a pay bill over £3 million each year.

What if I don’t have to pay the apprenticeship levy?

As an employer who doesn’t pay the apprenticeship levy, you will need to pay the college or training provider directly for training your apprentices.

You pay 5% towards the cost of training and assessing your apprentice. The government will pay the rest (95%) up to the funding band maximum. They’ll pay the funds directly to the training provider.

Additional payments from the government

Extra support for small employers

Employers with fewer than 50 people working for them will not have to pay the 5% contribution for an apprentice who is aged between:

  • 16-18 years old
  • 19-24 years old and who has previously been in care or who has an Education, Health and Care plan provided by their local authority

The government will pay 100% of the training costs for these individuals, up to the funding band maximum.

Training younger apprentices

All employers will receive £1,000 if, at the start of the apprenticeship, the apprentice is aged between:

  • 16-18 years old
  • 19-24 years old and who has previously been in care or who has an Education, Health and Care plan provided by their local authority

This payment will be made to the employer in two equal installments via the college or training provider.

For more information please contact your chosen college.