Frequently Asked Questions
There is a significant amount of guidance out there about the principles of developing and delivering an apprenticeship – what we hope here is that we can suggest ways to achieve this in ways that are relevant to the technical community.
What do you need to include in a business case to recruit an apprentice?
Experience suggests you need to include the following:
- Equality and diversity initiatives. The implementation of apprenticeship programmes is a key way to increase diversity and inclusivity in the workplace.
- Aligns with the Technician Commitment so if you are a signatory, this should form part of your action plan. Sustainability.
- Addresses skills gaps, age profile of the workforce, etc.https://www.gatsby.org.uk/education/focus-areas/stem-skills-in-the-workforce
- Aligns with ‘Civic Duty’ if your institute is a Civic University.
- Opportunities for the local community and for those young people who may not usually enter further or higher education.
Who can apply for an apprenticeship?
- Historically, they were aimed at younger people, often termed as ‘grow your own’. The current scheme is open to existing staff (to help upskill current workforce ) as well new recruits, so age is often irrelevant at this point.
What is the best time in the year for an apprentice to start?
- They can start anytime but if they are enrolling at an FE college for their training part this will usually have to be aligned with their timetable, often September or sometimes January.
If I am responsible for the apprentice programme, how do I arrange the off the job training
- You will need to liaise directly with a registered education provider who can deliver the off the job training for the relevant Standard. Your University may have a preferred supplier list or you may have already built up a relationship with a local provider. If not then the governments Apprenticeship website provides access to a list of providers.
- It may also help to contact colleagues within your organisation who may be using the same Standard, or even colleagues in HEIs in your local area, for recommendations.
- Practical technical skills training can be expensive for FE colleges to run, therefore, they may well be better placed to deliver if they are approached by a group rather than an individual.
- Please ensure that if you are expected to sign any agreements, you have the institutional authority to do so. This is critical in case problems occur with the supply of the training.
What sort of work classifies as ‘Off the job’ training?
- Useful information can be found here
- In addition things such as giving presentations, carrying out a research project, researching the literature behind a particular piece of research, production of documents such as Standard Operating procedures, attendance on external training courses or conferences (Maybe give a presentation on the learning obtained from attendance at a conference). Production of a poster for an internal conference or event.
Where is the best college for the apprentice to attend?
- There is no ‘best’ college. The college is directly linked to the Standard that is being used. Different colleges provide for different standards. It is preferable that the college is near to the apprentices home or place of work.
Who manages the apprentice once they are recruited?
- If there is an Apprentice manager or a member of HR / OD staff that has this as part of their role, they will manage the administration and the progression of the apprentices. Local technical managers will be responsible for their day to day supervision.
- If there isn’t an apprenticeship manager or a relevant HE professional then you, as a manager, have recruited the apprentice directly then you will be responsible for the administration, progression, day to day supervision as you would be for any other employee
How do I draw down from the levy?
- This should be in conjunction with your HROD or finance department. There should be a member of staff who is responsible for using the levy fund.
What can the levy be used for?
- Apprenticeship training up to the funding band maximum. It cannot be used for any other associated costs such as travel to and from the training providers premises.
How much salary do apprentices need to be paid?
- Apprentices need to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage. As employees they will receive the relevant employee additional benefits. Some HEIs pay above this based on local agreements and market conditions.
Are apprentices entitled to paid annual leave?
- Yes. There is a leave calculator here but this may be dependant on your local arrangements. There should be at least 20 days holiday per year including bank holidays.
What happens if the apprentice does not live up to our expectations?
- As an employee, the apprentice is likely to be covered by the same or similar employees procedures.
What happens if there are issues with the apprentice at college /with their course?
- In the process of setting up the Apprenticeship with the Training Provider you will have agreed a review timetable and a process for sharing issues such as attendance, progress and problem resolution. To help manage these effectively issues should be dealt with as they occur, in line with the agreement. Your institution should have experts that can help manage concerns with suppliers if they do not get resolved.
Once the apprenticeship is completed, do we have to have to find them a permanent role?
- Whilst, as an employer you are under no obligation to take on the apprentice, once they have completed the apprenticeship, you will have invested a significant amount of time training and developing. Given this, we would hope that they should be in an excellent position to apply for and hopefully get relevant vacant roles within the organisation
If we run degree apprenticeship courses at our University, can the apprentice use this as their ‘off the job training’ provider?
- Degree apprenticeships are level 6 so the apprentice can register for training in the institute in which they work if they are undertaking the corresponding level of standard. If the level is 3 or below, they will need to be registered with either an FE college or another training provider. Level 3 is the equivalent of BTEC or 2 A levels.
Are there special rules that apply to apprentices aged between 16 and 18?
There are restrictions on the below types of work related to their employment that must be adhered to.
- Work which you are not physically or mentally capable of doing;
- Work which brings you into contact with chemical agents, toxic material or radiation;
- Work which involves a health risk because of extreme cold, heat or vibration.
Apprentices can only partake in the above work if all three of the below criteria are applicable:
- It is necessary for training;
- An experienced person is supervising;
- Any risk is reduced to the lowest level that is reasonable.
There are also specific rules for 16-18 year olds around hours of work and rest breaks:
- Apprentices must not work more than eight hours a day;
- Apprentices must not work more than forty hours a week;
- Apprentices must have twelve hours rest between each working day;
- Apprentices must have 48 hours rest per working week;
- Where apprentices work longer than four and a half hours they are entitled to a thirty minute rest break;
- Apprentices should not usually work after 10pm, if required to work after 10pm apprentices must stop at 11pm and not start until at least 7am (catering and hospitality are exempt from this individual rule).
- Apprentices are not allowed to work between midnight and 4 am.
Many thanks to our contributors:
Chris Turgoose, NTDC
Caleb Wright, The University of Birmingham
Karen Bailey-Smith, Sheffield Hallam University
Karen Henderson, University of Reading