Apprenticeships: Information for employers

Why hire an apprentice?

Are you looking for enthusiastic and talented people that you can shape and develop to help drive your business forward? If so, hiring an apprentice may be the solution! Over 130,000 businesses across the UK are now training apprentices; recognising their effectiveness at increasing productivity, improving performance and building a committed and skilled workforce.

Key facts:

  1. Apprenticeships can be taken by anyone over the age of 16 years
  2. Apprentices must be employed for a minimum of 30 hours per week in England and be paid at least the national minimum wage for apprentices – currently £3.50 for those aged 16-18 and those over 19 years of age in the first year of their apprenticeship (April 2017)
  3. Apprentices do not have to be new members of staff; current employees can undertake an apprenticeship to upskill or retrain
  4. AGE Grant: You may be eligible for a grant of £1,500 if you recruit a new apprentice
  5. Recruit for free: Training providers can advertise your apprenticeship vacancy for you free of charge on the National Apprenticeship website
  6. Up to 100% of apprenticeship training fees could be fully funded by the Government
*90% of apprentices stay in employment after finishing their apprenticeship (includes 2% self-employed)!

Download the Employer Guide to Apprenticeships here

National minimum wage for apprentices

The current national minimum wage for an apprentice aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year of their Apprenticeship is £3.50 per hour (April 2017), although many employers prefer to pay more. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age. Employers are no longer be required to pay employer National Insurance contributions for apprentices under the age of 25 on earnings up to the upper earnings limit.

How to recruit an apprentice

Once you have decided that you want to recruit a new apprentice, we will ask you to complete a vacancy template form providing as much detail as possible about the job role. Once this is completed we will upload the vacancy to the Apprenticeship Vacancy Service website for applicants to apply online. As part of the recruitment process, we can filter applications for you and even arrange your interviews if you wish!

Training current staff through an apprenticeship

Contrary to popular belief, apprenticeships are not just for new and young people joining your organisation; current staff can undertake an apprenticeship to upskill or retrain in a particular area. Ongoing learning in the workplace can create a positive and inspiring environment, and what’s more government funding can make training more affordable, or even free! Please contact us if you wish to discuss apprenticeship training for your current staff. However, unfortunately if the member of staff has a level 4 qualification or above (e.g. HNC/Degree) they will not be eligible to undertake an apprenticeship.

What apprenticeships do The College of Animal Welfare offer?

Benefits of employing an apprentice

Reduced recruitment costs
If you are looking to recruit a new member of staff to undertake an apprenticeship through The College of Animal Welfare, we can help you recruit for free! We can also filter applications and arrange interviews for you if you wish; saving you much needed time and money.

Tried and tested way to recruit skilled workers for the future
Apprenticeships develop staff with the skills needed to help your business keep up with the latest technology and working practices in your sector. When your apprentice comes to the end of their apprenticeship programme you may wish to offer them a full time job in your organisation. Approximately 70% of apprentices stay with their employer after their apprenticeship.

Build on your reputation
Being seen as a company committed to investing in qualified staff, you can help boost your reputation, both to future employees and potential clients.

Affordable way to grow your business
Not only can you recruit an apprentice for free; government funding means that course fees are significantly reduced (or even free!), national minimum wage rates for apprentices make employing an apprentice affordable and, to top it all off, you may be eligible to receive a grant of £1,500!

Attract people with fresh new ideas
Apprentices can bring valuable fresh ideas and perspective to your organisation. Your apprentice could have strong technology skills or social media experience; this knowledge can be used to build competitive advantage.

Motivate your workforce
Not only are apprentices a great asset to a business in their own right, they can also motivate and inspire your current workforce and encourage a culture of learning and development. Their presence and enthusiasm to learn and succeed can be infectious!

Apprenticeships: AGE 16-24 Grant

If you are a small business and have not had recruited a new apprentice in the last 12 months then you may be eligible to receive a £1,500 grant! To be eligible you must:

  • Confirm that you are not able to recruit an apprentice without the grant
  • Have fewer than 50 employees in the UK, as recorded by the Employer Data Service
  • Not have had an employee start an apprenticeship in the 12 month period before the start date of the first apprentice for whom you apply for the grant
  • Commit to employ your apprentice(s) for a minimum of 12 months on the apprenticeship programme or the time it takes them to complete their apprenticeship, whichever is the greater. Apprentices must be employed for a minimum of 30 hours per week

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for this grant please contact our funding team. If you are eligible, you will be asked to sign an AGE 16-24 Employer Agreement with The College of Animal Welfare before your apprentice(s) start. Grants will be offered on a first-come first-served basis within our allocation of grants. Payment of the AGE grant will be made once a qualifying apprentice has completed 13 weeks in learning on their apprenticeship programme. It may take up to nine weeks after the 13-week qualification point for the funds to be processed and transferred. Please note, as defined by the Skills Funding Agency’s programme funding rules, the apprentice must have been in learning for 13 weeks – not just in employment.

If you would like to speak to anyone regarding recruiting an apprentice, please contact us – we will be happy to talk you through your options.