How to Employ An Apprentice

(Just want to quickly see the process of how to employ an apprentice? scroll down to the list - but you will miss some useful info!) 

So you are an employer who wants to find out how to employ an apprentice? Well you have come to the right place, this guide will help you to understand the process from recruitment, grant sourcing, government funding, training providers and all the way through to completion.

First of all let me congratulate you on making the wise choice of becoming an apprentice employer. By supporting young people into employment you are helping the local community by reducing youth unemployment, while giving a young person the skills needed to thrive and become an essential contributor to our economy. On a national scale, the National Audit Office, identified that for every £1 spent on developing an apprentice, £18 is invested back into the economy. Now that statistic really proves why the Government is backing Apprenticeships so heavily – and your customers support it too – according to a BIS research paper 81% of consumers actually favour companies that employ apprentices over those that do not.

So now we have established why apprenticeships are great for the economy, local communities and the country, I will now tell you how it would benefit your business.  If you already know this, and just want to skip to the process of “how to employ an apprentice” just scroll down to the section below. By employing apprentices, you are able to improve your productivity while reducing costs; this is achieved by employing motivated and enthusiastic staff whose lack of experience is compensated by lower rates of apprenticeship wage structures which can be viewed HERE. The minimum wage rate for an apprentice in their first year is £3.30 per hour, but many pay much more than this. We highly recommend paying more than the minimum wage rate as it generally attracts higher quality of candidates for your role and also teaches your apprentice the financial benefits of working hard, which is an important life lesson.

Upon first glance, the apprentice minimum wage seems very low, however,  you could argue that the overall benefits more than make up for this.  Apprentices get paid to go to College and learn, gain nationally recognized qualifications, and most importantly of all, gain real life work experience and hands-on skills in the workplace that supercharges their CV and future employability prospects. Ideally, once your apprentice completes their apprenticeship, they should remain employed within your company as a full time member of staff who knows your company, its culture, processes and expectations. So whilst the first year salary is relatively low, the apprentice gains far more in non-financial benefits, and that is really the whole point. Compare this to University where you can employ a graduate who has actually never worked a real job, has only been taught academic theory, not any hands-on skills, and for their trouble get saddled with a significant amount of student debt. This is something apprentices don’t have to worry about, especially as after their first year, the salary increases because the minimum £3.30 per hour only applies to their first year of training.

Your business can also improve its bottom line by taking advantage of grants such as the AGE 16-24 GRANT which, depending on criteria, can net your business £1500 towards the cost of employing an Apprentice. Businesses in the construction industry can gain access to large grants between £6000 – £10,250 from the CITB.

Addressing skills gaps in your business is a huge benefit. A report from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) in January found that 146,200 job vacancies were unfilled due to a lack of skills. Apprenticeships are widely recognized as the solution to this problem as apprentices will learn your required skills in the academic environment and will then be able to apply it to the workplace. Now we shall get down to why you are really here: ‘How do I employ an apprentice?’ Let me break it down for you.





Ok so first of all, once you have decided to employ an apprentice, you need to identify why type of apprentice your require. For example, lets say you are a restaurant owner and need serving staff, you could employ a Food & Beverage Level 2 apprentice. If you need someone to work in the offices in an admin role, you would need a Business Administration Level 2 Apprentice. A construction company who needs brick layers could employ a Trowel Occupations Level 2 Apprentice. These are just a small example of the hundreds of different types of apprentices you could employ. If you don’t know what type you require, just contact us and we will identify the right type to fill your skills gaps and address your business needs.



100% of the training costs are paid for by the Government for 16-18 year olds.  For 19-24 year olds the training is partially paid for by the Government, however, many training providers will waiver this fee making the cost of training totally free. Part of our job as an agent is to ensure the training provider/college waivers this fee leaving you with no training costs for 16-24 year olds. In terms of grants, as discussed at the start of this article, depending on your industry there are grants between £1,500 – £11,750 available pending eligibility. This is something we would help you to identify, source, and complete.



Once you have chosen the type of apprentice you need to fill your skills gap, the next thing you need to do is to write a job description. This includes the weekly or hourly wage rate, holidays, job title, description of duties, the type of apprenticeship and desired qualifications and attributes. Again this is all part of our free service – to see our job description form please click here – it is just a Microsoft Word Document that you can type your answers into, OR scan and email back to us. On page 2 there is a set of guidelines to help you fill it out and make it really clear.



This is where our digital marketing skills hold a huge advantage over colleges and training providers. As apprenticeship recruitment agents, we manage this whole recruitment process totally for free! Any paid display marketing networks, adverts, and campaigns that we conduct to find your ideal apprentice is paid for out of our own pocket with absolutely no charge or obligation from you. Amazing right? Well the reason why we are able to offer your business a totally free service is because we charge the training provider a fee for arranging the apprenticeship, so you can benefit from our impartial advice, experience, recruitment skills and reliable communication, totally for free.



We always recommend sourcing a list of potential candidates to interview, aim for around  3 – 5 candidates or even more if possible. We were recently told a horror story by an employer who described to us how the training provider they used didn’t give them a choice and basically just gave them an apprentice which wasn’t suitable. This is quite tragic because if you pick the right candidate, it can be an amazing experience, and often is for many employers. This is another advantage of using an agent – we will source apprentices for you as described in the previous section, but we also make sure the training provider offers you suitable candidates where available. At the end of the day, it is totally your decision and no one else’s. You may be really impressed with your first interviewee, you may not. Whatever happens, it is your decision to say YES or NO to candidates and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You have complete control.



This next step also highlights the advantage of using an apprenticeship recruitment agency like us. When you select a training provider, do you know if they are the best provider to train your apprentice for your particular sector? Are they in the best geographical location for your apprentice to attend? It can be a bit of a minefield when picking out the training provider and it’s not always best to just go with the closest one, or the first one you found on Google. Before we set this business up, our team worked in Further Education Colleges and also in the apprenticeship recruitment field, so we know exactly what to look for. You may be thinking “AHA! But this is where you make your commission!” And you would be correct. This is exactly how we can manage the recruitment process for you without charging you a penny. If you do decide not to take advantage of our FREE service, make sure you ask the training provider about their success rates!



Before your apprentice starts with you we will need you to understand apprenticeship employment law, minimum wages, holiday entitlement, sickness and so on. We can advise you here, and it is essential that you receive this information from your training provider – something we will arrange. It is absolutely essential that you provide your apprentice a safe environment to work in, and the training provider who delivers the training must conduct a risk assessment.



According to the National Apprenticeship Service, a whopping 92% of apprentice employers believe that Apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce. The benefits extend far beyond into increased productivity, improved staff retention, reduced staff costs and improved bottom lines. However, to achieve these benefits you must fully commit to the apprenticeship. You must provide a mentor to guide and support your apprentice in order to allow him/her to flourish in their role and organisational culture. You must motivate and include your apprentice in business activities and ensure he/she is acquiring useful skills, not only to improve their experience, but to benefit your business by providing them with relevant work experience. Treat your apprentice like any other employee and empower them with tasks that will motivate and bring out the best in their abilities and provide them with a safe working environment in which they can learn. By committing, supporting and empowering your apprentice you will be rewarded with a loyal, motivated employee who will grow to become a vital part of your business



Finally,  in order to have a great apprenticeship experience you must receive regular contact from the training provider regarding the progress of your apprentice. This is something we as agents really help to facilitate. If you feel that your training provider is not communicating well with you, all you need to do is contact us. We will make that change. We will also arrange to meet you for a coffee every now and then to make sure you are happy and to answer any questions you may have. While the training provider should be doing this, its a huge advantage to have that double support system in place, especially as our service is free to you.






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