If you’re an employer and you’re thinking about setting up an apprenticeship programme, in response to the apprenticeship levy (), the chances are that you have a lots of questions with regards to how to go about it and your responsibilities towards your apprentices once they’re on board. We’ve already covered how to get your apprenticeship programme up and running in another article which you can find here, so in this post we’ll be looking at your responsibilities as an employer. We’ve listed 5 below so let’s dive right in.
- You and your approved apprenticeship provider are responsible for ensuring that your apprentice training meets the quality standards set out by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). This means that the course must be carefully planned so that it a) meets the requirements of the ‘apprenticeship standard’ and b) meets the new regulation that each apprentice must spend the equivalent of 20% of their normal working hours in formal training. To get this right, with least ‘downtime impact’, means careful curriculum planning. We’ll be publishing our updated advice on this next week.
- All apprentices must have an Apprenticeship Agreement between the employer and the apprentice. The apprenticeship agreement is used to confirm individual employment arrangements between the apprentice and the employer and will include the skill, trade or occupation for which the apprentice is being trained under the qualifying apprenticeship framework. You can find detailed information on what to include in an apprenticeship agreement on the UK website.
- You are responsible for paying your apprentice’s wages and issuing their employment contract. Whilst the budget for the training you provide to your apprentice may come out of your Apprenticeship Levy allowance (see our article on the apprenticeship levy) it is the employer’s responsibility to pay at least the Apprenticeship National Minimum Wage. The current minimum apprenticeship rate for anyone under 19 is £3.50 per hour. Similarly, if an apprentice is over 19, but in the first year of their apprenticeship, the minimum hourly rate is also £3.50. After the first year of their apprenticeship, apprentices are entitled to the national minimum wage. This varies depending on a person’s age.
- Your apprentice cannot be part-time. They must have an employment contract for a minimum of 30 hours per week. As an employee, they must also receive the same benefits as other employees.
- For your apprentices to succeed, you should make sure they have an opportunity to get relevant experience in the workplace. Without it, they are unlikely to pass their apprenticeship or deliver any real value to your business. Allocating a mentor or buddy is a great way to further aid the development of your apprentice. This doesn’t need to be their line manager – in fact, it helps the apprentice to have another point of contact as a mentor if possible. As for line managers, specialist courses are available in how to manage apprentices and this is something we recommend.
So there you go – five responsibilities that employers need to take on board when starting an apprenticeship programme. Of course, the more you as an employer put into the scheme, the more successful your apprentices will be and the quicker they’ll start delivering value to your business.
If you would like help setting up your scheme, would like to learn how you can use funds from the Apprenticeship Levy to find your training, or would like to engage a partner to run your apprenticeship programme for you, contact the London School of Apprenticeship Training today on 020 3651 4747.