Next Week is National Apprenticeship Week!

Apprenticeships provide a unique opportunity for individuals to earn while they learn, combining on-the-job training with formal education. This brief guide is designed to help business leaders to understand and leverage apprenticeships in their organisations.

Recent Trends and Benefits of Apprenticeships

Recent government statistics (published on 25 January 2024) reveal significant growth and benefits in apprenticeships:

  • There’s been a 7.0% increase in apprenticeship starts, rising to 130,830 from the previous year.
  • Sectors like construction, business and administration, health and science are leading in apprenticeship starts.
  • 92% of companies report a more motivated and satisfied workforce due to apprenticeships.
  • 86% of businesses find apprenticeships helpful in developing skills relevant to their organisation.
  • 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service.
  • Employers report an average yearly gain of £2,500 to £18,000 per apprentice during their training period.
  • Apprenticeships offer the potential for a more diverse workforce and allows employers to offer opportunities to those from underrepresented groups.

To read the full report, click here.

How Apprenticeships Work

Apprenticeships offer a mixture of learning on the job (and in the workplace), formal training with a local provider, and of course the experience gained in the role itself. Apprentices must spend at least 20% of their time in off-the-job training. This can include additional training in areas like English and maths if needed. On-the-job training is complemented by mentor support, ensuring skill development directly relevant to the role.

Eligibility and Duration

Apprenticeships are open to individuals over the age of 16 who are not in full-time education. They can be new or existing employees looking to upskill. The minimum duration of an apprenticeship is 12 months.

Apprenticeship Types and Standards

With over 750 apprenticeship standards available, businesses can choose programs that best fit their needs, bringing in new expertise and skills.

The Apprenticeship Levy

Introduced in April 2017, the Apprenticeship Levy applies to employers with a salary bill over £3 million per year. Employers with a lower wage bill are not required to pay but receive significant funding towards training and assessment costs.

If you are already paying the levy, why not make the most of it? Levy funded apprenticeships help you maximise your return from this business cost, allowing you to access this government funding to pay to upskill your employees. Through Apprenticeships you can be developing the skills of your workforce and transforming your organisation through funded workplace learning programmes at a fraction of the cost of paying for the training out of pocket.

Employer Obligations

Employers must provide a genuine job opportunity and ensure the apprentice’s wages are covered throughout the training. They also need to engage a registered training provider and agree on the training and assessment costs.

Apprenticeship Costs and Funding

Non-levy paying employers contribute 5% towards training costs, with the government covering the remainder. For employers with fewer than 50 employees, the government may fund 100% of apprenticeship training costs.

You may also be able to get an additional £1,000 to support your apprentice in the workplace if they are 16 to 18 years old, or 19 to 25 years old and either have an education, health and care plan, or used to be in care.

Improved Staff Retention and Motivation

Employees who feel supported in their professional development are more motivated at work and tend to give more to their jobs. Giving your people the chance to learn new skills will help to boost their satisfaction which is great for them as individuals but also has benefits for you as a business including boosted productivity and retention.

A survey by the National Apprenticeship Survey found that 69% of companies reported improved staff retention rates by hiring apprentices. On the whole, apprentices tend to be very loyal to the business and more motivated to learn new skills than other types of employees. Given the financial and time costs involved in hiring and training new staff, any efforts which can be made to improve staff retention can be a valuable exercise for businesses, potentially offering huge cost savings each year.

Future Trends

  • Growth in bespoke apprenticeships, tailored to specific business needs and values.
  • Potential changes to the Apprenticeship Levy, affecting funding and training approaches.
  • Emphasis on soft skills development, addressing the gap in essential workplace competencies.
  • Need for technically skilled educators to keep pace with advancing workplace technologies.

Employer Commitments

Professional apprenticeships help you to develop a workforce with the skills your business needs, in turn increasing productivity and improving business performance.  Engaging an apprentice can bring a diverse array of both tangible and intangible rewards to your organisation. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge the dual aspects of this commitment. On one hand, employing a new apprentice or upskilling a current team member through a professional apprenticeship involves dedication from your end. This includes offering practical training on the job and allocating time for the apprentice to pursue formal education during work hours. On the other hand, a significant majority of employers recognise that the benefits gained from apprenticeships far outweigh these commitments, considering them a valuable investment in the future of their business.

Getting Started

If you’re a business owner considering launching an apprenticeship program, the journey begins with understanding your organisation’s specific needs and how an apprentice can meet them. Start by identifying the skill gaps within your company and the roles that apprentices could effectively fill. Once you’ve pinpointed these areas, connect with a registered apprenticeship training provider to design a program tailored to your business’s requirements. These providers can guide you through the process, including the financial aspects and the creation of a training plan.

Remember, apprenticeships are not just for new hires; they can also be a tool for upskilling your current employees. Engage your workforce in the process, identifying individuals who may benefit from further training. Additionally, familiarise yourself with the Apprenticeship Levy and funding options, which can significantly offset training costs.  Companies can access the government’s online services to calculate funding, find training providers, recruit apprentices, and manage apprenticeship programs.  For further details and the latest statistics, visit  GOV.UK Apprenticeships.

Lastly, ensure your business is ready to provide a supportive learning environment, as this is key to the success of the apprentice and the program.

By thoughtfully integrating apprenticeships into your business strategy, you’re not just filling immediate job openings; you’re investing in the future skill set of your workforce and the overall growth of your company.

For further support and guidance in launching your Apprenticeship Scheme feel free to reach out to us on




Hannah Powell