May 18, 2022, 1:20 p.m.
If you’re new to the world of apprenticeships, you’ll probably be asking a variety of questions to do with what an apprenticeship is, how they work and what the benefits of taking on an apprentice are. Apprenticeships have changed a lot over the past few years, and keeping up to date with all of the latest information out there may be quite a challenge. Below, our team has shared an updated guide for employers, to help you understand the basics and navigate towards making the decision of whether investing in an apprentice will benefit your business.
First of all, the million dollar question. What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a mix of on-the-job training and study. Apprenticeships allow people to gain employment whilst also achieving a recognised qualification in their chosen sector of work.
Apprenticeships are available in the majority of working industries and can be completed at all levels from Entry to Degree; creating a route for progression into almost any career choice.
With apprenticeships becoming more accessible than ever before, businesses of all sizes and sectors in the UK are being encouraged to offer apprenticeship opportunities.
As an employer, investing in an Apprentice is a great opportunity to introduce new talent or up-skill current staff. It allows you to train new or current members of staff to the specific role required, helping them to develop new skills and confidence in your workplace. An apprenticeship can also offer a secure route for progression, enabling employees to climb the ladder of success in your business.
So, how do apprenticeships work?
As mentioned above, an apprenticeship essentially combines training and work. Apprenticeships enable fresh talent to dive into a role and receive training to ensure the skills, knowledge and behaviours to complete their role are achieved. Throughout the programme, an apprentice will be required to complete on-the-job and off-the-job training to ensure they’re competent to industry standard. Similar to further education at college, or university, an apprentices competency is defined around an Apprenticeship Standard. These standards are written by industry leaders, key employers and assessment bodies to ensure that every apprentice is under-going industry relevant training before they progress onto permanent employment within their chosen sector.
Whilst the apprentice will continue working with you as their employer, they will also be required to attend either on-site or off-site training sessions which are deemed as ‘off-the-job’. Your apprentice will also be supported by a dedicated Assessor, Tutor or Coach throughout their apprenticeship journey to ensure they’re on track to achieve.
At the end of an apprenticeship, your apprentice may be required to complete an End-Point-Assessment (EPA) as a final competency test. This will be dependent on their chosen sector, industry or level that they’re completing.
You’re probably thinking ‘What do I need to do as an Employer?’
An apprenticeship requires time, effort and dedication from both an employer and their apprentice. Employing an apprentice also brings responsibility. Firstly, you must offer your apprentice a minimum of 30 hours a week and provide a contract of employment. This is needed to ensure that the apprentice can learn the role over the timeframe of their qualification without being unemployed. The contract of employment contains an Apprenticeship Agreement and a Commitment Statement. The agreement ensures that both parties agree on the duration of employment, the training that will be provided, their working conditions and the qualification they are working towards. The statement will include the planned content and schedule for training, what is expected and offered by yourself as an employer and how to resolve queries or complaints. This contract of employment will also ensure that your apprentice has equal rights amongst other employees; including redundancy, holiday pay and sick pay.
Unlike the traditional way of employing a new recruit, an apprenticeship requires a lot of training and support to be successful. Having a Training Provider by your side to recruit the right talent, deliver the training and support your new talent throughout the process is an essential component of how apprenticeships work.
It is essential that you offer a safe and secure working environment and adhere to all employment legislation. This includes providing a role that complies with our Lone Working and Safeguarding policies.
As an employer you will also be responsible for paying your apprentices wages. This means you will need to meet the National Minimum Wage for Apprentices or above, this wage is dependent on their age and previous experience. You must also pay your apprentice whilst they are partaking in training, as outlined before your apprentice will receive training during their working hours either on-site or off-site.
You must be able to set aside time to teach your apprentice about their role, their duties and their responsibilities whilst also being dedicated to helping the progression and development of your apprentice, ensuring they can complete their role with confidence.
Finally, you will also be required to co-fund the training and assessment costs of the apprenticeship. These costs were made mandatory after the apprenticeship reforms in April 2017. However, the Government is currently offering funding support towards these costs depending on whether you are a Levy or Non-Levy payer.
Who is an apprenticeship for?
An apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity for individuals who may be looking to enter the world of work, seeking a challenge in a new role, or current employees who are looking to upskill and climb the career ladder.
At GFT, we currently have a range of entry requirements for candidates to meet. These include:
Must be eligible to work in the UK
Must not have achieved a qualification at degree level or higher (in their chosen sector)
Must not be in Full-Time Education, Training or Employment
Must have a career choice in mind
Must have previous work experience in any industry
We also then assess each candidate dependent on the requirement of the employer to ensure their suitability for the role and working environment.
What support will my apprentice receive?
Your apprentice will receive support from a dedicated Assessor who will be your main point of contact. The Assessor will also help to develop the ability of your apprentice, to continue their progression towards their qualification by conducting observations, recorded discussions, workshops and assessments. In some cases, your apprentice may also need support with their maths and English Functional Skills, if this is the case they will be assigned a Tutor to guide them through their additional training and assessment.
As a Training Provider, we are committed to ensuring that all apprentices receive direct support with any personal, mental health or safeguarding issues; including issues that may arise within the workplace. Your apprentice will be reminded that they can contact our team at any time if they do require support.
If you have any questions regarding our Apprenticeship Programme, or if you’re looking to employ an apprentice - Please visit: https://www.wearegft.co.uk/contact-us/
or call 0121 333 3001.