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Frequently Asked Questions



No. Anyone who is over 16, living in England and at any stage of their career can be an apprentice. There is no upper age limit.

Yes. Apprentices are employed in a real job and paid a salary, exactly the same as any other employee. They have the same employment rights too and, as such, employers are required to issue a contract of employment for each apprentice they take on.

Off-the-job training is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship. This can include training that is delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work but must not be delivered as part of his or her normal working duties.

All apprentices must undertake an independent end-point assessment. This is a synoptic assessment of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that have been learnt through the apprenticeship, and normally takes place during the last few months of the programme.

An apprenticeship takes between one and five years to complete and, normally, the higher the level of apprenticeship, the longer it will take.  An apprenticeship has to last for a minimum of one year. 

 

Most apprentices stay with their employer after completion of the apprenticeship, with one potential progression route being a further apprenticeship at a higher level.

Employers

To meet the Government’s agenda and drive the increase in the number and quality of apprenticeships, the levy was introduced in April 2017 and is the biggest change to impact on the apprenticeship landscape.  The levy gives you control of your training and is creating employment opportunities nationwide. 

If you are an employer with an annual PAYE bill of over £3 million, you must pay a levy of 0.5%; this is taken on a monthly basis by HMRC and transferred into an employer’s account with the Digital Apprenticeship Service, topped up by the Government. 

The levy ‘pot’ can only be used to fund the training and assessment of apprenticeships (not the wages of apprentices) in England, with each apprenticeship standard sitting under one of 15 funding bands or caps, ranging from £1,500 to £27,000. Digital accounts are accessed online and used by employers to ‘purchase’ training programmes from a list of recognised providers, recorded in the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers.  Levy payments expire after 24 months unless they are spent on approved apprenticeship schemes. In the event that there are insufficient funds in your digital account to cover the full cost of apprenticeship training and assessment, the government helps meet 90% of the additional costs.

Let’s assume that you have an annual pay bill of £8,000,000.

  1. Your levy sum will be 0.5% x £8,000,000 i.e. £40,000.
  2. All employers receive an allowance of £15,000 from the Government to ‘offset’ against payment of the levy.
  3. Your annual levy payment will, therefore, be £40,000 less £15,000 i.e. £25,000.
  4. In England, the Government provides a 10% ‘top up’ to an organisation’s monthly levy contributions, so for every £1 paid in, a business has £1.10 to spend.

In fact, less than 2 per cent of UK employers pay the levy. So, if your pay bill is less than £3m per year, you will not pay the levy.  In this case, at least 90 per cent of your apprenticeship training and assessment costs in England will be paid for by the Government. The Government will then ask you to make a 10 per cent cash contribution to the cost, paid directly to the training provider, with the Government covering the remainder (up to the maximum agreed funding band).

Apprenticeships are open to both existing staff and new recruits. An apprentice must be employed for a minimum of 30 hours per week, and be eligible to live and work in the UK.

There are several ways in which you can recruit a new apprentice to your organisation.  You could advertise through the same media that you’d use to find other employees, as well as using specialist apprenticeship websites. You could also try contacting your local schools or colleges, and we can support you to identify school outreach channels. 

 

Aspiring Apprentices

Find an opportunity

Apprenticeships are real jobs which mean that, first and foremost, you’ll need to find an opportunity. If you’re not already employed by an organisation that is prepared to sponsor you through an apprenticeship, you will have to identify one. You can do this by approaching an employer directly or by looking on the websites of different financial services organisations. 

You can find apprenticeship vacancies on the gov.uk apprenticeship search tool and, if you create a gov.uk account, you’ll be able to receive alerts about new apprenticeships.  You can also look for apprenticeship opportunities on the not going to uni website.

Alternatively, if you are already employed there may be apprenticeship opportunities available within your own organisation. Try speaking with your line manager or the HR Department.


Apply for the role

You’ll need to go through a recruitment process with the employer – in exactly the same way as you would for any other job application.  This will most likely vary depending on the size of the organisation; a larger bank may hold an assessment day, for instance, whereas a smaller company might follow a more informal or personal process.

Take a look at our Careers blog for tips on presenting yourself for job interviews and maximising your impact.

From 1 April 2017, the National Minimum Wage for apprentices increased to £3.50 an hour, rising to £3.70 in April 2018. This rate is for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over in their first year.  However, in practice many apprentices get much higher. Your salary should also increase as you gain more experience. You will be entitled to holidays and all other benefits enjoyed by an organisation’s employees.

No. You cannot be in full-time education and undertake an apprenticeship.

Entry requirements vary and you will need to check the role vacancy to see what the employer is looking for.

If you can’t decide which route is best for you, you can apply for both apprenticeship roles and full-time university courses at the same time. But remember, you must have an offer of employment, or already be employed, to undertake an apprenticeship.

You can apply at any time of the year. The start date of your apprenticeship depends upon the availability of a position at an employer.

You must be eligible to live and work in England and be employed here for 50 per cent of the time in order to undertake an apprenticeship programme.