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Taking on an apprentice: a step-by-step guide

Jen Robson for <a href='' target='_blank'>North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP)</a>

Created by Jen Robson for North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP), 8th May 2018

This step-by-step guide will give you all the information you need to employ an apprentice. For further advice and guidance, visit

Step 1: Terms, conditions and pay

You must meet the following criteria if you’d like to employ an apprentice at your business. Your apprentice must:

  • Be 16 years old or older. They can be a new or current employee;
  • Work enough paid hours each week to undertake sufficient training to achieve their apprenticeship (a minimum of 30 paid hours a week or more, including off-the-job training).

As an employer, you must:

  • Provide your apprentice a contract of employment, long enough that it will allow them to complete their apprenticeship successfully;
  • Pay the cost of your apprentice’s wages - at least the national minimum wage - for the time they are in work and in off-the-job training;
  • Give your apprentice a job role (or roles) that enables them to gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to achieve their apprenticeship;
  • Allow your apprentice to combine learning in the workplace with formal off-the-job training, which usually takes place outside the normal working environment;
  • For some apprenticeships your apprentice may need to combine work with study for a work-based qualification from GCSE (or equivalent) up to degree level.

Step 2: Employers and apprenticeships - things to check

Once step one is in order, there are important areas that should be reviewed. These include: 

  • Eligibility of your apprentice - e.g. the right to work in the England;
  • Contract of employment - a signed apprenticeship agreement and commitment statement is required;
  • Selecting a training provider - someone that will deliver your apprenticeship training and assessment;
  • Types of apprenticeships - there are currently two types of apprenticeships to choose from: Apprenticeship standards and Apprenticeship frameworks. It's worth noting that Apprenticeship frameworks are being withdrawn on a phased basis. Apprenticeship standards are designed by employers and assessed by The Institute for Apprenticeships. They show what an apprentice will be doing and the skills required of them, by job role;
  • End-point assessments - an assessment of the knowledge, skills and behaviours your apprentice has learnt throughout the apprenticeship standard;
  • Certification - your apprentice will be awarded a certificate on the successful completion of their apprenticeship. For Apprenticeship standards, the apprenticeship assessment organisation will request the certificate from the Education & Skills Funding Agency.

Step 3: Funding for your apprenticeship

Apprenticeship levy paying employers can pay for training and assessment using apprenticeship funds. Government will apply a 10% top-up to the funds you have to spend in your account.

Non-levy paying customers are required to make a 10% contribution to the cost of apprenticeship training, with government paying the remaining 90% (up to a maximum amount of funding allowed for the apprenticeship you have chosen).

Additional funding and support is available, depending on your apprentice’s circumstances or if you employ fewer than 50 employees. For more details on apprenticeship funding in England, you can visit

Step 4: Additional information and advice

For more information about employing an apprentice, access to funding and selecting the right kind of apprenticeship, visit or call the National Apprenticeship Service on 0800 015 0600.


Want to find out more about hiring an apprentice? View our apprenticeship toolkit


Jen Robson for <a href='' target='_blank'>North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP)</a>

Created by Jen Robson for North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP), 1 year ago, [last edited 1 year ago]