Apprenticeship FAQs

On this page you’ll find plenty of apprenticeship FAQs for employers, where our expert team have provided the answers. Here you can find answers to questions about the Apprenticeships Levy, funding an apprenticeship, how to hire and manage an apprentice and much more. 

If you find your questions hasn’t been answered on this page, please feel free to contact us for a quick response on this page, or use our live chat function!

If you are considering hiring an apprentice, you may also find the following guides helpful:

General Apprenticeship FAQs

What is an Apprentice?

An apprenticeship is where you employ someone to do a real job within your business, whilst they also study for a qualification. Apprentices need to spend a small portion of their time studying, usually at a college or training centre.

This can be a much more cost-effective way for employers to gain staff with relevant skills specifically tailored to their business. 

Apprentices must follow an approved study programme, but there are hundreds of approved standards in a huge variety of subjects. The good thing about this, is that the apprentice will gain a qualification that is nationally recognised. 

Apprenticeships are available in over 170 industries and they are open to anyone over the age of 16 who isn’t currently in full-time education. 

How Long Do Apprenticeships Last?

The length of an apprenticeship will depend on the level of apprenticeship that is being studied, but they must last a minimum of one year.

  • Intermediate Apprenticeships last between 12 to 18 months.
  • Advanced Apprenticeships last around 2 years.
  • Higher and Degree Level Apprenticeships can last between 3 and 6 years.

However, this is just a general guide and the length of an apprenticeship can vary depending on the apprentice’s aptitude, the employer’s requirements and the industry.

Apprenticeships can be extended for various reasons too. If you need to reduce your apprentice’s hours, or they are furloughed, you may need to extend the apprenticeship. 

Who Can Hire An Apprentice?

Any business can hire an apprentice, even if the apprentice will be your first ever or only employee.

You’ll just need to make sure you’re registered for PAYE and understand all the legal obligations of hiring any employee. Apprentices have legal rights very similar to standard employees when it comes to holidays, sick pay and more.

We also recommend that you should be confident that your business has the capability to support an apprentice over at least a year and have a solid growth plan in place. You should also be there to support and mentor your apprentice, an apprentice is not a good idea if you are looking for someone to work completely independently.

How Do I Hire an Apprentice?

Hiring an apprentice is really simple if you work with an approved training provider like NTG Training, we do all the hard work for you. Advertising the role, initial screening, interview assistance and contracts – you’ll be helped every step of the way, and we’ll completely manage most of it.

If you’d like to learn more about how to hire an apprentice, we recommend our employer’s guide to hiring and finding an apprentice here.

How Much Should Apprentices Be Paid?

In their first year as an apprentice, all apprentices must be paid at least the national minimum wage for apprentices.

This changes every year and is set by the government. Currently in the year April 2020 – March 2021 the apprenticeship minimum wage is £4.15/hr.

After a year, if your apprentice is over 19, they’re eligible for the national minimum wage for their age group. You can find the government’s set national minimum wages here.

Apprentices under 19 can continue on at the apprenticeship minimum wage until they complete their apprenticeship.

Generally, we recommend that you pay over the minimum wage if your business can afford it. This leads to increased loyalty and better conditions for your apprentice.

How Many Hours a Week Does an Apprentice Need To Work?

Generally, it’s recommended that an apprentice should work a minimum of 30 hours and a maximum of 40 hours. This is the best way to ensure your apprentice is getting enough time for their role, training and study. 

These hours include time spent training, even when the training is completed off-site at a college or training centre.

Your apprentice’s hours should be set out in their contract. An apprenticeship isn’t a suitable model if your business requires a zero hour contract due to the nature of the work.

Can An Apprenticeship Be Part-Time?

If your business needs an apprenticeship on a part-time contract, this can be done by working with your training provider to ensure the apprenticeship is appropriately extended to cover for lost training time. 

A part time apprenticeship must be a minimum of 16 hours a week. 

Can I Upskill My Current Staff With an Apprenticeship?

Yes! There’s no reason your staff who are already employed cannot complete an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are actually a great and very cost effective way to upskill your staff. They are also an ideal solution if you need to retrain staff into a different role. 

An apprenticeship can be completed by anyone as long as they spend 20% of their time training. If you’re thinking of using an apprenticeship to upskill your staff, we’ll work closely with you to design a programme that means their training has minimal impact on their productivity or role. We’re very experienced in doing this, and we’ve worked with multiple businesses on these kinds of apprenticeship programmes in the past. 

Staff can complete an apprenticeship at any level, from a level 2 (GCSE) to a level 7 (masters), we even have company directors who take on apprenticeships to upskill themselves.

How Old Can An Apprentice Be?

An apprentice must be a minimum of 16 years old, but there is no upper age limit for apprenticeships. We’ve even had apprentices in their 50s – you are never too old to learn something new!

There are many benefits for employers who wish to hire an older apprentice. An older apprentice may have more work experience and may be more suitable for the role, depending on your industry. 

You don’t have to pay an apprentice the apprentice’s minimum wage, you can offer a higher, more competitive wage if you like, that may be more appealing to older candidates.

What Can An Apprentice Study?

There are apprenticeships available in over 170 industries and there are over 700 approved apprenticeship standards already. Some of the sectors available to apprentices include:

  • Agriculture, Environmental and Animal Care Apprenticeships
  • Business and Administration Apprenticeships
  • Care Service Apprenticeships
  • Catering and Hospitality Apprenticeships
  • Construction Apprenticeships
  • Creative and Design Apprenticeships
  • Digital Apprenticeships
  • Education and Childcare Apprenticeships
  • Engineering and Manufacturing Apprenticeships
  • Hair and Beauty Apprenticeships
  • Health and Science Apprenticeships
  • Legal, Finance and Accounting Apprenticeships
  • Protective Services Apprenticeships
  • Sales, Marketing and Procurement Apprenticeships
  • Transport and Logistics Apprenticeships

You can view all the apprenticeships we offer at NTG here, but if the apprenticeship you’re after isn’t shown, please don’t hesitate to contact us and discuss your options.

Apprenticeship Funding FAQs

How Do Small Businesses Fund Apprenticeships?

What is the Apprenticeships Levy?

Where Does Apprenticeship Funding Come From?

Are There Apprenticeship Grants Available?

Are Apprenticeship Grants Taxable?