What is the process for taking on an apprentice?

If you’re planning on taking on an apprentice, there are a few extra steps compared to the normal recruitment process for other employees.

If you’ve never employed an apprentice before, you’ll need to consider selecting the right apprenticeship programme, funding the training, and choosing a training provider. Here are the extra steps for employers looking to take on an apprentice.

1. Identify the role

The first step is to identify the role an apprentice would fit into. It could be an entry-level position you want to support with expert training, a senior position you want to develop, or a hard-to-fill role.

2. Consider apprenticeship rules

While you’re at this early stage you’ll need to keep in mind eligibility requirements and the basic rules for employing an apprentice. New apprentices will have all the rights of your existing employees. There are no upper age limits, but apprentices must be 16 years or older. You’ll need to pay apprentices at least the National Minimum Wage for their age.

3. Choose the apprenticeship

Next, it’s time to find an apprenticeship programme that fits different roles in your company. There are hundreds of apprenticeship standards for all industries and positions, so there’ll be a programme that suits the role in question.

Standards are developed by groups of ‘trailblazer’ employers from your industry and are mapped to specific occupations. There are apprenticeships for every level of employee, whether it be a manager or entry-level.

4. Find an apprenticeship training provider

Once you have an idea of the apprenticeship you want to offer, the next step is to find a training provider that delivers the programme. At this stage, an apprenticeship provider should give you expert help and guidance for setting up your programme.

Overall, you’ll need to select your provider based on training coverage, quality of delivery and curriculum, and reputation. Read our expert tips on choosing an apprenticeship training provider to help with this process, including key questions to ask a training provider.

5. Explore funding options

Apprenticeship training costs vary between programmes and funding bands. Employers with a payroll of more than £3 million pay the apprenticeship levy and use the funds to cover apprenticeship training costs.

All other employers will pay 5% of total training costs through the process of co-investment, with the government paying the remaining amount. Small employers with less than 50 employees can get full training costs funded for young apprentices.

6. Launch the programme

Work with your training provider to properly embed the programme within your business, informing stakeholders and mapping the programme to existing career journeys.

Lifetime has dedicated teams of trainers for certain large employers, completely aligning delivery with employer company values.

7. Recruiting apprentices

If you use an apprenticeship training provider’s recruitment service, the process should be the same as with other employees.

In the case of Lifetime’s apprenticeship recruitment team, vacancies are shared across a range of channels and job boards. Employers will receive a shortlist of pre-screened, eligible applicants to offer interviews to. This saves employers time and resources, as recruitment is included within training costs.

8. The apprenticeship agreement

It is a legal requirement to sign an apprenticeship agreement before the apprentice begins the programme. Signing an apprenticeship agreement before the apprentice begins the programme is a legal requirement. The apprenticeship agreement is a contract of employment between the employer and apprentice.

The apprenticeship training plan is a contract signed by the employer, apprentice and Training Provider. It makes sure all parties are committed to fulfilling the apprenticeship programme. 

Like the rest of your workforce, an apprentice will also need an employment contract. Find out more about the difference between an apprentice contract and agreement here.

Help with taking on an apprentice

Have more questions about taking on an apprentice? Our teams have 25+ years of experience launching award-winning programmes. Talk to us and find out more.