What is the difference between an apprentice contract and agreement?

If you’re employing an apprentice, they will need an employment contract like any other employee. But there is also other essential documentation – the apprenticeship agreement - that needs to be completed when enrolling an apprentice. Find out the differences between agreements and contracts and what employers need to know in our guide.

What is an apprenticeship employment contract?

Apprentices have the same rights as all your other employees (including holiday, sick pay and business benefits). So, just like the rest of your workforce, they still need to have an employment contract when working for you. There are different ways you can go about this when taking on an apprentice:

  • You can use your normal employment contract for your apprentice and their job role (you don’t actually need a specific apprentice employment contract).
  • You might just be hiring an apprentice for the duration of the apprenticeship programme, but there could be the opportunity to apply for a permanent role upon completion. In this case, you can create an apprenticeship contract of employment to make it clear that it’s a fixed-term contract for the length of the apprenticeship.

What is an apprenticeship agreement?

The apprenticeship agreement is official ESFA documentation, signed by the apprentice, employer and training provider. It’s a key part of the enrolment process and compliance cycle, agreed by all parties before the apprentice starts their programme. In summary, it outlines all the requirements for the apprenticeship and everyone’s responsibilities.

At Lifetime, we make this process seamless for our learners and partners via our online platform, Aptem. It’s one way we make sure our coaches support the learner and employer through all pre-enrolment activities, and how we keep all documentation in one easily accessible place.

The difference between an apprenticeship agreement and contract

To summarise, the overall difference between an agreement and an apprenticeship employment contract is that the agreement documents programme requirements, whereas apprenticeship employment contract sets out employment terms and the rights they will receive.

As mentioned above, there are two types of contracts of employment for apprentices. If you’re unsure which you should go for, and how to go about creating an apprenticeship agreement, then your training provider will be on hand.

What is an Apprenticeship Training Plan?

Alongside the ESFA apprenticeship agreement for employers is the Training Plan (previously known as the Commitment Statement). This provides an overview of training for the apprenticeship provider and employer, but also outlines the more granular details of the apprenticeship:

Want to know more about taking on an apprentice?

Find out everything that employers need to know about hiring an apprentice, from the process of hiring an apprentice and rules for employers, to apprenticeship funding and incentives. You can also find out the latest changes to apprenticeship funding rules for employers here.

Need more clarity on apprenticeships? With our end-to-end service, we’re on hand to help at every step of an apprenticeship. Speak to our experts.