Are you an employer of apprentices or planning to be?

Higher/Degree Apprenticeships offer employers the chance to upskill existing employees or to bring new recruits into the business so it's important you are prepared for working with an apprentice.

This quick guide covers your key responsibilities as an employer of an apprentice.

  • You must give your apprentice on-the-job training, including an induction into the role.
  • You are responsible for issuing your apprentice's employment contract and paying their wages
  • Your apprentice is an employee so must receive the same benefits as other employees.
  • You must pay at least the Apprenticeship National Minimum Wage.
  • Your apprentice must be employed for a minimum of 30 hours per week.
  • You must have an Apprenticeship Agreement in place between you (the employer) and the apprentice.

There are other things to consider as an employer offering Apprenticeships, and our job at the Apprenticeship Hub is to ensure you're informed.

  • You need to ensure your apprentice has opportunities to get relevant experience in the workplace so they can achieve their Higher or Degree Apprenticeship. Our Skills Coaches will work with you and your apprentice to help you and discuss progress.
  • You should factor in that apprentices have to have 20% off-the-job training - this could be attending University or time away from their normal day-to-day duties but in the workplace.
  • By partnering your apprentice with a good mentor in the workplace, you will help to aid your apprentice's development and attainment.
  • You should provide a safe environment and ensure safeguarding is in place for all apprentices.

Do you have more questions? 

To find out more about how Apprenticeships can help your business, and your role as an apprentice employer, contact our expert team at the Apprenticeship Hub.


Levy questions answered

If your business has an annual pay bill of over £3 million, then you will be impacted by the Levy and the changes to government funding of Apprenticeships.

Our Q&A highlights some of the key features of the new levy and how it will affect you and your organisation – including some of the great benefits. 

The levy is being introduced to drive an increase in Apprenticeship numbers – and quality. It will help to raise the level of skills available in the economy through education and training, encouraging you as an employer to invest in apprentices and take on more.

The levy will be charged at a rate of 0.5% of your yearly pay bill. The rate has been established to deliver the increase in quality that businesses have been asking for without placing an unreasonable burden on employers.

You will pay the levy if you are an employer in the UK (in any sector) with a pay bill exceeding £3 million per year, on which there is a liability to pay Class 1 secondary National Insurance Contributions (NICs).

If you already contribute to an existing industry levy scheme, you will still be required to pay the Apprenticeship levy if your pay bill is over £3 million.

If you do not have a pay bill of over £3 million, you will not be required to pay the levy. The government will provide financial support for you to take on Apprenticeships, but you will be expected to make a small financial contribution to the cost of training and assessment in partnership with the government.

You will have a levy allowance of £15,000 per year to offset against the levy you pay, and will receive a monthly 10% top-up from the government which will be added to funds you have for spending on Apprenticeship training.

If you have multiple PAYE schemes and do not use the full £15,000 allowance, you will be able to offset the unused amount against another one of your schemes. If you are part of a group of connected companies, you will only be able to use one £15,000 allowance.

You will pay the levy to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) through the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) process.

Once you have paid the levy to HMRC, you’ll be able to access funding for Apprenticeships (including training and assessment) through a new digital Apprenticeship service account which you will be able to register for from January 2017.

The Apprenticeship Levy comes into effect in April 2017.

The first time you will see any funds in your digital account will be late May 2017, from which point you can start spending your levy funds. Funds will appear in your digital account monthly, a few working days after you have confirmed your pay bill and levy contribution to HMRC for the previous month.

Funds in your employer’s levy account can only be used towards the cost of Apprenticeship training and the final assessment an apprentice will need to take. However, there is the flexibility for employers to spend the money on Apprenticeship training that they judge best meets their needs.

Every Apprenticeship standard and framework will be placed in a funding band, which will define the maximum amount that can be used towards training and assessments costs over the length of each Apprenticeship.

Levy funds (and top-ups) will expire 24 months after they appear in your digital account unless they are spent on Apprenticeship training.

You may also be eligible for extra employer incentive payments, including for successful completion, taking on 16-18 year-olds and if you are an SME.

For more need-to-know information and updates on the Apprenticeship Levy, visit the government website.

Remember, you can speak to us directly too – visit us at the Hub or get in touch right now.