Employing an Apprentice can be rewarding and can have a positive impact on your business. It can help you to develop your own talent and ensure that you have the skills to take the business forward.  However, taking on an Apprentice you do have to ensure that you fulfil all the requirements:


  • Their eligibility to be an Apprentice

  • They must have the right to work in England.

  • Spend at least 50% of their working hours in England.

  • Must not be in receipt of any other DfE funding


Their contract:

You must provide an Apprenticeship Contract.  This will set out:


  • How long the Apprentice is employed for, the training they will get and at what level, and their working conditions.

  • Working conditions will include:

  • Hours of work

  • Holiday

  • Rate of Pay

  • Sickness procedures / pay

  • And other company policies such as use of phones, confidentiality etc


Ideally this should be signed on their first day and the Apprentice should receive a copy of this.  They are entitled to receive their contract on or before the first day of starting the employment. This is legally binding.

A Training Commitment Statement

This will be a signed contract statement between the Employer the Apprentice and the Training Organisation.

This must include:           

  • The planned schedule and content for training

  • What is expected and offered by the Employer /Apprentice/ and Training Organisation

  • How to resolve any queries or complaints.


At least National minimum Apprenticeship Wage

Apprentices are entitled to an itemised payslip the same as any other employee.


Apprenticeships can last for more than a year depending on the post and the qualification the Apprentice is working towards.  For the first year the Apprentice must receive at least the National Minimum wage for their work, and after they have been employed for a year they must receive at least the Minimum Wage for their age.

For April 2020/ 2021 this is:

Apprentices:                     £4.15

16-17 Year Olds:               £4.55 

18-20 Year Olds:               £6.45 

21-24 Year Olds:               £8.20 

25 years and Older:         £8.72 

Paying Tax and National Insurance

Apprentices have the same obligation to pay tax and national insurance as all other employees.  Often the Apprentice may not pay these if their wage is under the minimum contribution level.

As with all employees also do not have any rights to take any unauthorised deductions from their pay packets.

The same benefits as other Employees:

Apprentices are entitled to the same benefits offered to all Employees. This will include holiday entitlement, which by law, is at least 20 paid days plus statutory holidays, and sickness pay.  These should be set out in the Apprenticeship contract.


Provide Training.

Your Apprentice must be working towards a qualification.  This may be provided by a College or a Training Provider.  You must allow the Apprentice the time to complete their study as part of their paid work.  This may be by day release to the college; by block release, or by having a Training Provider come onto your premises and deliver the qualification directly to the Apprentice.

You must have evidence of regular progress reports to show that the Apprentice is taking part in learning and these may be developed in conjunction with the Training Provider.

You must provide appropriate support and supervision for the Apprentice to carry out their role within the workplace and it would be beneficial to appoint the Apprentice a mentor to help with this (although this is not mandatory)

There is a requirement that the Apprentice must receive ‘off the job training’ for 20% of their working week in order to satisfy the rules of the Apprenticeship. This must be directly related to the Apprenticeship Framework or Standard, or training with in the business. This cannot include any provision for working towards English, Maths or ICT.


The Commitment Statement

This must set out the amount of time for off the job training as well as stipulating the planned End Date. The Commitment statement with the Training provider must consist of at least the following:

  • 3 signatures, one from the Employer, one from the Training Provider and one from the Apprentice

  • The name of the Apprentice, their job role and their contracted hours

  • The details of the Apprenticeship including the name of the apprenticeship framework or standard that they are undertaking, the start date and the end date and for the standards the date relating to the end point assessment period.

  • The amount of Off the Job Training; this has to be at least 20% to fall in line with Government funding

  • The source of funding

  • The agreement of what is expected and offered by the Training provider, The Employer and the Apprentice.

  • The process for resolving any complaints, including quality complaints


The duration of the Apprenticeship

This must be at least 12 months even if the Apprentice has had concessions to allow for prior knowledge, and it may need to be longer than 12 months to support the delivery of the full apprenticeship contract

If the person is undertaking a standards programme the Apprentice must be employed until the End Point Assessment is complete.


Hours of Work

This must be a minimum of 30 hours a week including off the job training. If the Apprentice works less than 30 hours a week then the Training Provider must adjust the length of stay on the programme to take account of the difference, pro rata.

If the Apprentice is on a zero hour contract then they must be allowed to complete their Apprenticeship training, including off the job training within their working hours and must be paid for this.


What constitutes off the job training?

Off the job training is the training that will enable the Apprentice to become skilled in the workplace.  As well as the qualification that the apprentice will be completing there is an expectation that there will be mentoring and training within the industry to allow the person to become competent in their role. This will start on day 1 with the Induction process, health and safety, codes of conduct as well as Company specific policies and procedures.

The apprentice is required to have 20% off the job training.  To find out what constitutes off the job training and the myths click this link to the Government Guidelines.

Funding the qualification

The size of the Company will decide on how your Apprentice is funded.  If you have a wage bill of over £3, million you will be required to fund the Apprenticeship through the Government Levy.  However if you do not meet this requirement you will be eligible for Government funding for most of the qualification 95% of the qualification (correct for tax year 2019/2020).


If you are a levy payer, then you must record the Apprenticeship in your Apprenticeship services account. Your Training Provider may be able to help you with this. If you are not a levy payer you will be required to pay 5% of the cost of the Training as quoted by your preferred Training Provider.


In order to comply with Government funding the Apprentice must not be undertaking another Apprenticeship or be in receipt of any other DfE funding during their stay on the Apprenticeship programme.

The Apprentice must not be asked to contribute financially to the cost of their programme or End Point Assessment training.

The Apprentice cannot use a student loan to pay for their Apprenticeship.


Additional Funding Available

You and your Training Provider can receive an additional payment towards the cost associated with training if at the start of the Apprenticeship the Apprentice is:

  • Aged between 16-18

  • Aged between 19-24 and has a Educational Health Care plan

  • Has been in the care of the Local Authority (Restrictions apply)

Evidence will need to be provided before this money is granted and the Employer will receive this in two instalments as defined by the Government programme.


Extra Support for Smaller Businesses – less than 50 employees

All the Apprenticeship costs will be paid for if the Apprentice is:

  • Aged 16-18 on the first day of the Apprenticeship

  • Aged between 19 – 24 but has a EHC plan

  • Has been in the care of the Local Authority (restrictions apply)


English, Maths and ICT

Those taking level 3 and higher Apprenticeships are required to hold or achieve a level 2 in both Maths and English before they can successfully complete the Apprenticeship.  This is separate from the Apprenticeship and the Apprenticeship funding and is offered at no cost. Some courses will also require the ICT level 2 to be attained.

Should an apprenticeship be for a level lower than 3 and the Apprentice has not gained level 2 Maths and English, (and in some cases ICT) the Apprentice will be required to study for these subjects at least at the specified standard for that level.

Time taken on these subjects does not count as Off the Job training.

Levels of qualification


Source: UCAS

Choosing the Qualification


When you choose the qualification for the Apprentice to study you must ensure that you are able to give help and support within the workplace and that the Apprentice is able to demonstrate their competence in that subject.  You must also ensure that it is at the correct level to stretch the Apprentice. Remember they will not have some or many of the skills when they start with you but as they progress through the year they will still need to remain motivated and achieve their 20% of the job training.


Choosing A Training Provider


Unless it is a specialist qualification then there is usually more than one Training Provider that can deliver the qualification.  It is best to shop around to ensure that the delivery is the best for your Apprentice and for you.  If you have an older member of the team who may be doing a qualification it may be better for a Training Provider to come into the workplace on a one to one basis rather than to be sat at College with an age range of younger apprentices.


Training providers are subject to Ofsted the same as other educational establishments and you are able to find their ratings on the Ofsted Site and from Employers and Learners survey.  Should you or the learner feel that they are not getting a satisfactory service or that the qualification is not being delivered at the correct level, you have a right to make an appeal or to lodge an official complaint.


Although there is a cap on how much a Training Provider can charge for a qualification and this will differ from Qualification and level, each Training Provider will also have different charges for individual qualifications.  It would be prudent to ask for different charges before committing yourself to a Provider.

Working Conditions


Apprentices as subjected to the same working rights as all other employees as set out in your Policy and Procedures or your Employee Handbook.  In addition it may be necessary to undertake further risk assessments due to the age of the Apprentice.


There are certain rules that particularly cover the working hours that will also need to be considered:

They should not be asked to work more than 40 hours a week or 8 hours a day.  They should not be asked to work between 10pm and 6am (exceptional circumstances may apply).  The hours of work should include the approved training .i.e if the apprentice attends college for one day a week this will be included in the 40 hours.


Disciplinary, Grievance and Redundancy Procedures


An Apprentice has the right to have the same notice and provisions in these procedures as any other employee, which includes bringing representation to any meetings.  You must ensure that  your Apprentice has been made aware of their rights at induction so they are not discriminated against due to their lack of knowledge of procedures and rights within the workplace.

We want to make sure Apprentices on the Isle of Wight are treated fairly and have the support and guidance that they deserve