9 Questions Employers Ask About Apprenticeships Answered

Why hire an apprentice?

There are many benefits when it comes to bringing apprenticeship talent onboard your organisation.

Apprenticeships offer a unique opportunity to nurture talent tailored to your specific business needs. By bringing in an apprentice, companies can benefit from new perspectives and innovative ideas in their projects. 

By onboarding an apprentice, you are also ensuring a cost-effective solution for addressing skills gaps, as you can train individuals according to your company’s requirements, meaning they possess the precise skills and knowledge necessary to contribute effectively. 

Hiring an apprentice not only enriches your workforce, but also contributes to the broader goal of creating a skilled and sustainable future workforce.


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What are the rules for employing an apprentice?

Employing an apprentice involves adhering to specific regulations designed to protect both the apprentice and the employer. Some of the key rules include: 

  • Apprentices must be aged 16 or over and not in full-time education. 
  • Additionally, they must work towards achieving a nationally recognised qualification relevant to their role, typically through a government-approved apprenticeship program.
  • Employers are required to provide apprentices with a contract of employment lasting at least one year, ensuring they receive on-the-job training and development opportunities.
  • Apprentices must work a minimum of 30 hours per week, including any training time, and be paid at least the apprentice minimum wage. 
  • Employers are responsible for ensuring apprentices receive the necessary support and supervision to complete their training successfully. 
  • It’s crucial to engage with a registered apprenticeship training provider such as Access Industry to ensure compliance with all regulations and to maximise the benefits of employing apprentices for both the apprentice and the employer.


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Can an apprentice work unsupervised? 

Apprentices can work unsupervised to a certain extent, depending on their level of skill, experience, and the nature of the tasks assigned to them. 

While apprentices often require guidance and support as they develop their skills, as they progress through their apprenticeship and gain experience, they may be trusted to work independently on certain tasks. However, employers need to provide appropriate supervision and oversight, especially in industries where safety or quality standards are critical.

Employers should assess the apprentice’s capabilities and gradually increase their autonomy as they demonstrate competence and reliability. Additionally, apprentices should always have access to support and guidance from experienced colleagues or mentors, even when working unsupervised, to ensure they continue to learn and develop effectively. 


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How many hours can an apprentice legally work?

In the United Kingdom, apprentices aged 16 to 18 are subject to specific rules regarding working hours. Typically, they can work a maximum of 40 hours per week, which includes both on-the-job training and any time spent in education or training outside of the workplace. 

For apprentices aged 19 and over, the rules differ, with some flexibility in working hours while still ensuring they receive adequate training and support. 

It’s essential for employers to adhere to these regulations to protect the health, safety, and well-being of apprentices, as well as to comply with relevant legislation. 

Employers should consider the apprentice’s workload and ensure it allows for a healthy work-life balance to support their learning and development.


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Who pays apprenticeship wages?

Apprenticeship wages are typically paid by the employer. However, there are specific regulations regarding the minimum wage that must be adhered to. Apprentices under the age of 19, or those aged 19 and over in the first year of their apprenticeship, are entitled to the apprentice minimum wage. 

It’s important for employers to ensure they pay apprentices at least the minimum wage specified by law and to review and adjust wages as apprentices progress through their training and gain experience.

Employers may be able to access funding through the apprenticeship levy to help cover the costs of apprenticeship training and wages. The levy is paid by large employers with an annual pay bill of over £3 million and can be used to invest in apprenticeship training and development within their organisation.


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What is the average apprenticeship wage in 2024?

Many employers, and indeed apprentices would like to know how much the average apprenticeship wage is in 2024. This varies depending on age, location, and industry, as well as the specific apprenticeship program. 

As of 2024, this rate stands at £4.81 per hour. However, apprentices aged 19 and over who have completed the first year of their apprenticeship are entitled to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage rate applicable to their age group. 

The average apprenticeship wage may also be influenced by whether an employer chooses to pay higher wages to attract talent or as part of their commitment to investing in skills development within their workforce. Some employers may access funding through the apprenticeship levy to help cover apprenticeship training and wage costs.


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Do you get paid for hiring an apprentice?

Employers do not receive direct payments for hiring an apprentice. However, there are government initiatives and incentives designed to encourage employers to take on apprentices. 

One initiative is the apprenticeship levy, as mentioned above. Employers can use the funds accumulated in their levy account to cover the costs of apprenticeship training and assessment. 

On the other hand, smaller employers who are not required to pay the levy may be eligible for government funding to support the costs of apprenticeship training and assessment. These funds are administered through the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) and are intended to help offset some of the costs associated with hiring and training apprentices. 

While employers do not receive direct payments for hiring an apprentice, these incentives and funding opportunities can make apprenticeships a more attractive option for businesses looking to invest in skills development and talent acquisition.


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How much notice does an apprentice need? 

The notice period required for an apprentice can vary depending on the terms outlined in their employment contract or agreement. Apprentices are generally subject to notice periods as specified in their contract of employment. 

Typically, this notice period can range from one to four weeks, although it may be longer in some cases or subject to negotiation between the employer and the apprentice. Both parties need to refer to the specific terms outlined in the employment contract regarding notice periods. 

It is important for employers to be aware of any statutory notice requirements outlined in employment law that may apply to apprenticeships. 

Such requirements are governed primarily by the Employment Rights Act 1996. According to this legislation, the statutory notice period that an employer must provide to an apprentice is as follows:

  • For apprentices who have been employed continuously for at least one month but less than two years, the statutory notice period is one week.
  • For apprentices who have been employed continuously for two years or more, the statutory notice period increases by one week for each additional year of continuous employment, up to a maximum of 12 weeks.

These statutory notice periods apply to situations where an employer initiates termination of an apprentice’s employment. Similarly, apprentices are also subject to providing their employer with notice if they intend to resign from their position, usually in accordance with the terms specified in their employment contract. 


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How do you recruit an apprentice? 

Recruiting an apprentice involves several steps to ensure that you find the right candidate for your company’s needs. Here’s our general guide on how to recruit an apprentice:

  • Define the Role: Begin by clearly defining the apprenticeship role within your organisation. Consider the specific tasks, responsibilities, and skills required for the role.
  • Choose an Apprenticeship Program: Research apprenticeship programs relevant to your industry and the skills you’re seeking. You may work with trusted, specialist apprenticeship providers such as Access Industry to ensure a seamless onboarding and training delivery.
  • Advertise the Opportunity: Working with a training provider like Access Industry means you can benefit from external advertising to attract the best talent. Access Industry also has over 4,500 workforce-ready learners across the UK and a diverse talent pool to match your business with an apprentice that meets your requirements.
  • Screening and Selection: Access Industry pre-screen all candidates so that the heavy lifting is done for you. All our candidates have been reviewed and we will only put forward candidates who meet your needs. We will then discuss suitable candidates with you as a potential fit for your organisation. You can then conduct interviews to assess candidates’ suitability for the role.
  • Offer and Onboarding: Once you’ve selected a candidate, extend a formal offer of apprenticeship. Provide them with information about the apprenticeship program, including training plans, expectations, and benefits. Access Industry is here to support you throughout to ensure a smooth apprenticeship program delivery, from start to finish. From paperwork to training plans, we handle the logistics, allowing you to focus on integrating your new team member seamlessly.

At Access Industry, we believe in unlocking potential through tailored, creative, and digital apprenticeship programs. 

Our approach focuses on understanding your organisation’s unique needs and culture to match you with the perfect apprentice. With Access Industry as your training provider, recruiting an apprentice becomes a smooth and rewarding experience, championing growth for your business. 

Speak to one of our experts at Access Industry to discuss your company’s apprenticeship requirements. 

Last updated on: 14th February 2024