If you are an employer and thinking of recruiting an Apprentice or upskilling your current staff, here is what you need to know...


By working with apprentices, you are contributing to wider benefits for the UK economy by reducing unemployment and skills shortages in the UK.  With the new funding rules that came into effect on 1 May 2017, it is now possible for individuals of any age in England to apply for an Apprenticeship.

Whether you have hired young talent to grow within your business or are upskilling an existing employee – we will be here to support you and your apprentices through the programme, ensuring that you both get the most out of the apprenticeship.


Apprenticeship Levy

Introduced in April 2017, the Apprenticeship Levy is a government initiative to fund Apprenticeship programmes.  The levy will be charged at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s pay-bill. Each employer will receive an allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment.  You pay the levy if you have a total wage bill over £3 million. The government is committed to boosting productivity by investing in people.  As part of this, the government is committed to developing vocational skills and to increasing the quantity and quality of Apprenticeships.  Ultimately the government wants to encourage more companies to hire apprentices and help reduce skills gaps in the UK.


Government Funding

Levy payer

  • Funds can be used for Apprenticeship training for existing and new employees
  • Funds expire 24 months after they enter the Digital Apprenticeship Service account
  • Costs are spread across the length of the programme, with 20% not paid until completion
  • If exceeded the monthly levy draw down
    • You will pay 5% of the additional cost - the government will pay the remaining 95%

Non-Levy payer (co-funding)

  • If your annual wage bill is less than £3m you do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy.  You will need to pay just 5% toward the cost of the Apprenticeship programme and the government will pay the remaining 95%
  • For organisation with fewer then 50 employee, the government will pay all the costs for new apprentices aged 16-18 and those aged 19-24 who are leaving care or have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.


Incentive payment

From August 2020 until the 31 January 2021, businesses taking on new apprentices* will be rewarded with £2,000 for a 16 to 24-year-old and £1,500 for a 25-year-old.
*Apprentices must not have been employed by the employer within the six months prior to the Apprenticeship contract start date.

All employers in England will receive a £1,000 incentive payment for each 16 to 18-year-old apprentice they employ.  This will be paid to you by your training provider in two equal instalments at 90 and 365 days of the Apprenticeship programme.  It also applies to 19 to 24-year-old apprentices who have been in care, or who have a Local Authority Education, Health or Care plan.


Apprenticeships Levels


Four Levels of Apprenticeships


What is expected from you as an employer?

How can you support your employee with their Apprenticeship programme?

Take time to set expectations and give advice from the very beginning to help them settle. This will help apprentices to understand what is expected of them.

Where possible, develop an induction programme

We recommend you run an induction in the first 3-4 weeks of the Apprenticeship programme. The induction should cover expectations from you and the business, as well as outlining their role within the workplace. This applies for existing staff too, so they understand the expectations whilst on programme and how it will affect their role. If your apprentice is a new external hire, this will help your apprentice and develop their understanding of your company’s products and services.


Hold regular meetings with your apprentice

At the beginning of the programme, the meetings should be more frequent to guide them and provide support. Meetings will give them the opportunity to ask questions and for you to provide advice and guidance. For existing staff, it will allow you time to discuss how they are balancing their workload and studies.


Mentoring and support in the workplace

This does not necessarily need to be you as their line manager, it helps the apprentice to have another point of contact in the organisation. We would recommend another member of your team to be your apprentice’s mentor throughout the programme.

Mentoring also provides a great development opportunity for other staff within your business and it will give potential managers the chance to enhance their skill set and get experience supervising others.


Matching your apprentice’s work to their development plan

This will vary depending on your organisation. However, it is important that your apprentice gets good exposure to relevant experiences on real work projects to assist with their growth and development, which will assist them to achieve the learning outcomes of their programme.

Real work projects and experiences are important for the overall success of the Apprenticeship programme.


How much do you need to pay the apprentice?

Apprentice pay and the National Minimum Wage

The Government has set out national minimum wage for apprentices, this is currently £4.15 per hour although you can pay them more.

There are different rates of pay for apprentices depending on their age and what year of Apprenticeship they are in.

Aged 16 to 18
The current National Minimum Wage rate for an apprentice is £4.15 per hour.

Aged 19 or over and in their first year
The current National Minimum Wage rate for an apprentice is £4.15 per hour.

You can find the current national living wage and national minimum wage rates by visiting the government website.


Apprenticeships available through New Directions College

Operational Delivery

Business Administration

Team Leader/Supervisor

Operational/Departmental Manager

Customer Service

Early Years Practitioner

Early Years Educator

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