Apprenticeships make good business sense, which is why a quarter of small businesses currently have at least one apprentice, and nearly all (96 per cent) SMEs report benefits to hiring an apprentice. Apprenticeships are changing, and there has never been a better time to get involved. This factsheet will provide a summary of important changes that small businesses need to be aware of when taking on an apprentice in 2017.
Apprentices are aged 16 or over and combine on the job training with studying (usually one day a week) for a work-based qualification - from GCSEs or equivalent up to degree level. It usually takes between one and four years to complete an apprenticeship depending on the apprenticeship you choose. Apprentices can be new or current employees to upskill your existing workforce.
Apprenticeships are available across a wide range of industries, from IT to accounting, engineering and finance, and at a range of levels. The National Apprenticeship Service (0800 0150 600) can advise you on the apprenticeship that’s right for your business.
The Government’s ‘Find apprenticeship training’ can help you find a local training provider www.findapprenticeshiptraining.sfa.bis.gov.uk. However, having a conversation with your local college, or asking other businesses with apprentices about their training provider, can be a useful place to start. You can also visit www.apprenticemakers.org.uk for help with beginning your apprenticeship journey as a small business.
There is a minimum wage for apprentices aged 16-18. The same wage applies if the apprentice is 19 and over and in the first year of your apprenticeship, after that they are entitled to the National Minimum Wage. However many employers pay more than this. For more information, visit www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates
You will only need to pay the apprenticeship levy if you are an employer with a pay bill over £3 million each year. However, you will share the cost of training and assessing their apprentices with government - this is called ‘co-investment’. From May 2017, you will pay 10% towards the cost of apprenticeship training and government will pay the rest (90%). For those already employing apprentices, anyone accepted before May 1 2017 will be funded for the full duration under the terms and conditions that were in place when the scheme started.
Yes. An extra £1,000 additional payment will be paid to businesses that take on a 16-18 year old, or a 19-24 year old that has previously been in care. Businesses with under 50 staff will also see 100% of training and assessment costs paid for if they recruit an apprentice aged 16-18 or a 19-24 year old with an Education Health Care Plan or was formerly in care.
The government’s new digital service will help employers to select an apprenticeship framework, choose training providers and assessment organisations, and post their apprenticeship vacancies. SMEs won’t need to use the Apprenticeship Service to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment until at least 2018, when the government will issue further advice.
The National Apprenticeship Service (0800 0150 600)