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  • Kia Watson
    BUSINESS SUPPORT APPRENTICE, MAIDSTONE, KENT

    Right for me

    An apprenticeship was right for me. I am able to work and earn money and get a qualification too.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a job offering considerable training and the development of valuable skills. It is a way for people of all ages to earn while they learn, gaining the skills and knowledge needed for a successful future. Hiring apprentices is also a productive and effective way for businesses to grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. 

Apprenticeships are available to businesses of all sizes and sectors in England, and can last anywhere in the region of 12 months to 5 years.

What’s changing?

From 1 April 2017 several improvements are being introduced which your company can benefit from. For the first time you can:  

  • Hire apprentices from the age of 16+
  • Commission apprenticeship training geared to your business needs.
  • Upskill existing staff - using money from the fund to offer higher or degree-level apprenticeships to your current workforce. 
  • Partner with specialist training providers to create a structured Apprenticeship and School Leaver programme tailored to your individual needs. 
  • Take advantage of up to 800 new apprenticeship standards (describing the skills, knowledge and behaviours an individual needs for a specific occupation).

Made in Kent’ is a campaign that aims to increase the number of apprenticeship opportunities for young people. Kent County Council is keen for all employers in Kent to maximise the opportunities that the newly expanded apprenticeship programme provides. If you would like more information you can contact our new apprentice advice service on 03000 414 005 or email us at: kep@kent.gov.uk.  

What is the Apprenticeship Levy and who will pay it?

The Apprenticeship Levy is a major change to apprenticeship funding that may affect your business. From 6 April 2017, large employers with an annual payroll of over £3million will be required to invest 0.5% of their payroll into a central fund. This is called the Apprenticeship Levy. From 1 May 2017 these large employers can start to draw down on these funds to pay for apprenticeship training over a period of two years.  If you would like more information, please contact our new apprentice advice service on 03000 414 005 or email us at: kep@kent.gov.uk


Employers who pay the apprenticeship levy and have unused apprenticeship funds can find employers who want to receive a transfer in a number of ways, for example:

  • - work with employers in your supply chain
  • - get in touch with employers in your industry
  • - get in touch with an Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA)
  • - work with regional partners
  • To find out more about transferring levy funds, please click here.

Who can do an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are for anyone who is over 16. Apprenticeships are for people who want to learn and progress in a working environment.

Funding rules have changed so apprenticeships are open to all!

Why should I employ an apprentice?

Apprenticeships are a great way to grow your own skilled workforce, whilst giving someone a chance to enter into a career. Hiring an apprentice can be very rewarding, as they arrive with fresh ideas and help energise your existing workforce. Hiring an apprentice can give you the opportunity to have a greater influence on the kind of employee they will become. You get the chance to mould your new team member to your ways of working and the values of your business. 

There are often financial benefits to taking on an apprentice as there can be grant funding available and the minimum wage is lower for an apprentice. This can be helpful to businesses as they try to grow and develop their staff. However if you are thinking of employing an apprentice for cheap labour, then think again! There is much more to apprenticeships, so if that is your aim then an apprentice is not right for you. 

How does an apprenticeship work?

An apprenticeship provides the opportunity to continue learning, whilst earning money working. It is a real job where the young person works towards earning a nationally recognised qualification. The apprentice will be paid a salary and have a contract of employment, all whilst gaining a step on their career ladder. An apprenticeship can be completed either by day release once a week or a monthly tutor visit, however this will depend on the training provider.

Apprentices will need to work for a minimum of 30 hours a week and must be working towards an apprenticeship qualification through an accredited training provider.

Off the job training:

All apprenticeships are required to offer 20% off the job training. This includes:

• The teaching of theory (for example: lectures, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning or manufacturer training),

• Practical training: shadowing, mentoring, industry visits and attendance at competitions

• Learning support and time spent writing assessments/assignments.

It does not include:

• English and maths (up to level 2) which is funded separately

• Progress reviews or on-programme assessment needed for an apprenticeship framework or standard

• Training which takes place outside the apprentice’s paid working hours.

How it is delivered:

• It can take place at the employer’s location or off site.

• Over the course of an apprenticeship not an academic year

• Off-the-job training must teach new knowledge, skills and/or behaviors that will contribute to the successful achievement of an apprenticeship. Therefore, a progress review wouldn’t contribute to this.

• Being taught how to operate a new machine or undertaking e-learning at your desk is a contribution towards the 20%.

• More information can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/621565/OTJ_training_guidance.pdf

What is expected of an employer?

Employing an apprentice you will be responsible for:

  • Paying your apprentice in line with legal requirements 
  • Following employment law 
  • Ensure that your apprentice is working at least 30 hours a week 
  • Providing an environment where an apprentice can learn and complete their training with a training provider 
  • Ensuring your apprentice has good levels of support available 
  • Holding regular reviews with your apprentice and their tutor to monitor learning and progress 
  • Treating your apprentice as a normal employee

How much do I pay my apprentice?

The Apprenticeship minimum wage is currently £3.70 per hour, although many employers choose to pay above and beyond that, and we would encourage you to do so. The higher you pay the more interest you will generate and the happier your apprentice will be. Many employers also offer performance related pay rises throughout the apprenticeship, as they would with any other employees. If your apprentice is 19 years old when they complete their first year as an apprentice, then their wage will increase to the national minimum for your age category.

It is vital that you pay your apprentice the correct rate so that you are not breaking the law. If you have any pay related queries, your training provider will be able to help or you can contact us at ApprenticeKent.

Training costs and grant funding

Read our guide on the changes made to apprenticeships to find out more.