National Apprenticeship Week is in full swing in the UK, and is runs from the 7th to the 13th February 2022. All facets of the business model are taken into account, and the apprenticeship training provided will enable young people - the future workforce - to pin down and work in a field that they are truly passionate about.

The highlighting of this national initiative is great for those seeking to upskill themselves, and for companies who can benefit from having access to just the right talent. With the right in-house training, everyone wins, and businesses can rest easy as they could retain incredible staff members, securing stable growth.

Furthermore, the positive effects cannot be ignored, as this is great for the growth of the UK economy in the long term. Encompassing training providers, business participation, and Government facilitation, the youth workforce is truly empowered.

If you are a business that wants to be part of this outstanding initiative, and who also would like to see the UK economy thrive, then read on below to find out more about the process.

Hiring an ideal apprentice is a highly effective way to grow the talent in your organisation. This also develops a motivated mindset in your candidate, which ultimately leads to having a skilled and qualified workforce.

Statistics from the National Apprenticeship Service state that:

  • 86% of employers said that apprenticeships helped them develop the important skills relevant to the growth of their business.
  • 78% of businesses reported that there was an improvement in productivity.
  • 74% of business owners said apprenticeships helped them improve product or service quality.

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a work-based training programme that leads to an industry-recognised qualification. Apprentices are paid for their training and receive on-the-job experience.

An apprenticeship is also a way to facilitate training someone to do a skilled job. They learn at your business, working with an experienced tradesperson or department member of staff.

Apprentices are paid a percentage of the full wage for their trade, and apprenticeships can last between one and three years on average. However, many businesses do extend them for a longer period of time.

There are many different apprenticeship schemes out there, so it's vital to do your research before you start searching for that ideal candidate. Some things to think about are the terms and conditions of the apprenticeship, how much you'll be paying the person, and what you'll be teaching them.

A Training Provider is a great place to start

Hiring an apprentice need not be a daunting task. If you have highlighted the department or position that you would like to grow, then one of the first things you should do is to contact an accredited training organisation.

The apprenticeship scheme you choose should reflect the skills you want your apprentice to learn.

If you're not sure what skills you want your apprentice to develop, then you should definitely contact an apprentice and training provider.

There are plenty of UK-based apprenticeship schemes available that ultimately assists both the business with apprenticeship funding and the candidate with access to a wide range of potential work experience.

Government-based National Apprenticeship Services

The National Apprenticeship Service:
The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) is a government agency that helps businesses find apprentices and also provides funding for apprenticeship training.

Your first port of call should be to visit the NAS website. This organisation falls under the Education & Skills Funding Agency, and is pivotal in spearheading apprenticeship growth for businesses and those starting out or looking to upskill.

The Education & Skills Funding Agency:
The Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is a government agency that provides funding for apprenticeship training. The EFSA manages and is accountable for around £58 billion for the education and training sector.

Your nearest Local Authority: This is the local government authority in the UK that covers your local area. The Local Authority (LA) can provide a range of services, including finding apprenticeship vacancies and funding for your apprentice.

List of Apprenticeship Training Agencies (ATAs):

Registered and accredited ATAs recruit, facilitate employment and arrange training for apprentices on behalf of employers and business owners.

To be allowed to operate as an apprenticeship training agency, organisations have to be registered on the ESFA register of approved Apprenticeship Training Agencies.

Organisations that are listed on the register, have been through a rigorous vetting and application process, that takes in to consideration due diligence, sound financial management and transparent operational details.

You can view the full list of approved Apprenticeship Training Agencies at the Education & Skills Funding Agency website.

Additionally, you can also download the latest updated Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP).

What are the conditions of taking on an apprentice?

You must, at least, pay apprentices the minimum wage rate.

Apprentices general work hours are at minimum 30 paid hours a week, and they must work more than 16 hours per week.

You must provide the apprentice the same conditions as your other full-time employees, for example:

  • Paid holidays
  • Sick pay
  • Childcare voucher schemes
  • Any additional support you might offer, such as coaching or mentoring.

Young apprentices may not be left unsupervised.

There must be a legitimate position available, and included in the contract of employment there needs to be sufficient allocation of time for the apprentice to complete their apprenticeship.

Employers must ensure that there is support in the role, which will help the apprentice gain the knowledge and skills that they need to complete their apprenticeship eventually.

Employers must have:

  • An apprenticeship agreement in place for the full duration of the apprenticeship.
  • There must be a signed commitment statement between the apprentice, the employer and the provider.
  • The employer must retain an apprentice for at least one year. However, this is subject to the apprentice not breaking any of the businesses general conditions of employment.
  • The apprentice must be on the correct wage for their age and the pay should reflect the time they have worked, any off-the-job training, as well as any additional studies.

Be aware of the National Minimum Wage and Wage Rates

The hourly rate for the minimum wage depends on the age of the employee and whether they are designated as an apprentice.

The following rates are for the National Living Wage - those aged 23 and over, and the National Minimum Wage for those of at least school-leaving age. These rates are subject to change on the 1st of April each year.

April 2021 (current rate):

  • Apprentice - £4.30
  • Under 18 - £4.62
  • 18 to 20 - £6.56
  • 21 to 22 - £8.36
  • 23 and over - £8.91

April 2022 rates:

  • Apprentice - £4.30
  • Under 18 - £4.62
  • 18 to 20 - £6.56
  • 21 to 22 - £8.36
  • 23 and over - £8.91

What is an Apprenticeship Levy?

As an employer, you have to pay an Apprenticeship Levy each month if you have an annual total wage bill of more than £3 million.

This Levy amount to be paid is calculated at a rate of 0.5% of your businesses annual wage bill.

What are the financial incentives for businesses to hire an apprentice?

The government’s Plan for Jobs, announced in July 2020, was launched with the concept to kick-start the economic recovery of the United Kingdom.

In recognising the value that apprentices bring to businesses and the economy as a whole, an incentive payment system was made available to business owners hiring an apprentice.

Employers can apply for a payment of £3,000 for new apprentices with a start date of 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.

Please be aware that as an employer, you must set up an apprenticeship service account before you can apply to receive any financial incentive payments.

The incentive payment is in addition to the £1,000 which employers would receive for hiring a person who is 16 to 18 years old, or aged 19 to 24 with an education.

This £1000 payment will be paid to your training provider, who will then pass that payment on to you.

Another benefit is that employers are not required to pay National Insurance Contributions for apprentices who are under the age of 25, and whose earnings fall below the higher tax rate of £827 a week, or £43,000 a year.

The apprenticeship funding rules and guidance for employers document can be viewed online.


In employing an apprentice, you are not offering a handout, but rather, you are helping someone to achieve new or additional skills, and training up a the future workforce.

You and your business will also be an asset to the overall economic growth plan of the UK.

Plus, it just feels really great to help a young person entering the workforce to land their dream job.