Taking on an apprentice is an exciting time. You're working with somebody who has a blank slate and no bad habits picked up from working for other companies and of course, they'll naturally adopt your company culture as their own. You'll be helping them become a highly skilled professional that thinks and works like those in your company - it's a win-win for both sides! So what happens once you've made the decision to hire an apprentice? 

Choosing your apprentice framework 

First of all, you'll need to decide what kind of framework or standard for your apprenticeship programme you want to have. The usual route is to pick an apprenticeship training organisation which allows the apprentice to learn the basics of your industry and sector. They will also be put through an industry-standard training course, bringing them up to speed with the latest methods and techniques. 
The framework you choose will essentially act as a two-pronged approach. It will entail the modules and courses you want your apprentice to pass and the set timeline of progression. It's highly recommended that you do not rely on external training courses alone. As a company looking to expand and therefore hire new staff, you should create your own in-house training program that finishes the apprenticeship training. This way, your apprentice will be up to date on the industry standard, but also beyond ready to be thrown into the deep end of your business! 

Finding the funding 

You can receive funding from the government to help you pay for the training of your apprentices. The amount you can get depends on whether or not you pay the apprenticeship levy; if you have a pay bill that is over £3 million a year, you will need to pay the levy. 
If you don’t need to pay the levy, there are still a couple of things you will need to do. At a minimum, you will need to pay 5% of the costs for training and also assessing your apprentice. The payment schedule will need to be agreed with the training organisation you've chosen. You'll also need to pay them directly. The remaining 95% is picked up by the government but is limited to the funding band maximum, which takes into account the type of profession. The government will also pay the training organisation directly. 
If you do pay the levy, you’ll still be given some funding as the government will pick up 10% of the costs for training and assessing the apprentices. However, different rules apply for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, so check to see what they are for your location. 
Your training organisation will advertise your apprenticeship positions on your behalf. They can do this through the ‘find an apprenticeship’ service under the government. However, if you would like specific types of apprentices such as overseas students only, you will need to take up this route with the organisation. 

You've found an apprentice! What are the next steps? 

Once you have found your perfect apprentice, you will need to write an apprenticeship agreement and commitment statement, which you and your apprentices will need to sign. This is essentially terms and conditions that you set and agree to with your apprentice. It's very important to be involved and invested in this, so we recommend consulting an employment lawyer to ensure you're getting it right. 
You will need to pay the basic minimum wage of £3.50 an hour for any apprentices under the age of 19. If they’re over 19 and they have completed their first apprenticeship year, you’ll need to pay them the normal minimum wage pertaining to their age group. The national minimum wage increased in April 2020, so check here for the latest wages for each age group. 

Next steps 

Want help with the accounting side of hiring an apprentice, or indeed any other type of employee? Feel free to give us a call or drop us an email. We’ll be more than happy to help advise you. You can also check out our 'taking on an employee' blog here
Written by 
Nicola J Sorrell - 
Effective Accounting 
Founder | Xero Champion | IR35 Expert 
Tagged as: For - Employers
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