Latest News

Everything Employers Need to Know About Apprenticeships

Posted on Friday, 11th February 2022

Apprenticeships for Employers Blog Header

You may be wondering if an apprentice is right for you? In this blog we will explain the benefits of recruiting an apprentice, training your existing workforce, and how you can easily find an apprenticeship near you.

What are the benefits of recruiting an apprentice?

Recruiting an apprentice can bring new skills and enthusiasm adding value to your business. It is easier than you think and there is plenty of help and financial support available from the government.

This can be an exciting opportunity for both you and the apprentice, whether they are new to your business or an existing employee. They can see that you are investing in them and want to support them in furthering their career, along with being valued as an important part of your business and team. Their training is adapted to suit your business needs, and this motivates them to learn new skills and invest this into your business.

The opportunities are suitable for apprentices at different levels from school leavers, graduates and those that want a completely different change in career. This is a really productive way to grow an individual’s talents along with developing your skilled and qualified workforce.

  • 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation
  • 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity
  • 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service


Watch Gbemisola’s Story on what achieving the Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship meant to her and her employer.

Recruit an apprentice

There are over 8 million searches for apprentices per month on Find an Apprenticeship, so it’s clear that recruiting an apprentice brings valuable skills into a business with the right support.

As mentioned, they are suitable for people at any level, either new to your business or an existing employee.

You will need to create an apprenticeship service account to hire an apprentice, but your training provider can support you through this process to keep things really simple, and we will cover this in more detail under ‘creating an apprenticeship service account’.

Following this you can:

When you create an apprenticeship opportunity, it will be advertised it on find an apprenticeship.

You can either manage the apprenticeship recruitment process yourself or your training provider can do this on your behalf.

The only mandatory requirements for an apprentice are:

  • Be 16 or over
  • Not already be in full-time education
  • Be living in England

You can find other ways to search for an apprentice such as holding open days, arranging visits to schools, colleges and universities. Social media is a great way to advertise apprenticeship vacancies, as there are a lot of groups specifically created to open up these opportunities. Even participate in careers events such as WorldSkills UK Live.

How to choose the right apprenticeship and training provider

Remember that apprentices can be new or existing employees and must be:

  • 16 or over
  • combine work with study to gain skills and knowledge in a specific job
  • spend at least 20% of their working hours on ‘off-the-job’ training with your chosen training provider

There are hundreds of apprenticeships that you can choose from, but you must ensure that you find the right apprenticeship training for your business goals. Think about the right training to suit your business, the level and duration of the training and of course discuss this in-depth with your training provider so you make a really good informed decision that will bring value to your business. Apprenticeships are designed by employers so they do reflect the skills and behaviours expected or needed in those occupations.

Search here for hundreds of apprenticeships and training providers.

Are you currently recruiting or wanting to upskill your Managers, Team Leaders, Co-ordinators, Supervisors or Administrators? 

Why not consider Essential Site Skills Level 3 Management Trailblazer or Level 3 Business Administration Trailblazer with integrated Diploma?...

Not only do we include the new Apprenticeship Standard, but we also offer the “added-value” qualification of completing the ILM Level 3 Diploma for Managers (Management Trailblazer) or the City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma for the Business Administrator (Business Administration Trailblazer) covering areas such as, Leading & Managing People, Personal and Professional Development, Managing Performance, Communication, Project Management and Finance to name but a few.

Employees looking at computer

Financial Incentives for employers

Are you aware of the Government Incentive Scheme? Your organisation could be eligible for an incentive grant up to £3,000 per person if they are newly appointed to your organisation – so staff members who joined your organisation from the 1 October 2021 to 31 January 2022 who start an Apprenticeship by the 31 March 2022 could be eligible!

Applications close 15 May 2022.

The incentive payment is in addition to the £1,000 employers already receive for hiring an apprentice:

  • Aged 16 to 18 years old
  • Aged 19 to 24 with an education, health and care plan or who has been in the care of their local authority

Once you have signed up for your apprenticeship service account, you will find information on how to apply for the incentive payment, or your training provider can do this for you. Watch a helpful video here.

Upskill and retrain your existing workforce

It’s always a positive step to boost your employee performance and retention; using apprenticeships to upskill your current workforce is a great way to do this, along with your employees delighted in the fact they will gain a formal qualification in their specialist area! The right apprenticeship programme to suit your employee and business will:

  • Fill key skill gaps in your business
  • Boost employee motivation by investing in their development
  • Improve retention

Apprenticeships are available from level 2 to level 7 (equivalent to a degree level), so you’ll be able to find an option to suit your needs and skills gaps.

Funding an apprenticeship

You can receive help from the government to pay for your apprenticeship training, and the amount depends if you pay into the apprenticeship levy or not.

From January 2020, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has invited all organisations to use the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) so you can easily experience the benefits and flexibility of an Apprenticeship programme dependant on your organisations size.

For Non-Levy Employers: For smaller employers (SMEs), with a pay bill of less than £3 million, that do not pay the apprenticeship levy, apprenticeships will still be arranged via the apprenticeship service but you need to make a 5% contribution for cost of the Trailblazer. For example on our apprenticeship programmes: Level 3 Management £225 (plus VAT) or Level 3 Business Administration £250 (plus VAT) per Apprentice, this is paid directly to Essential Site Skills via invoice upon sign-up and the government then covers the rest (95%) which is reserved via your DAS.

If your annual pay bill is more than £3 million you will pay the apprenticeship levy.

For Levy Employers: For larger employers, with a pay bill of more than £3 million, apprenticeships are arranged via the apprenticeship service and the cost of the Level 3 Management Trailblazer is currently £4,500 per Apprentice and the Level 3 Business Administration Trailblazer is currently £5,000 per Apprentice and facilitated via the DAS. Depending on the apprenticeship you choose your training provider can advise you of the funding available and how to access this.

So, if you are an SME you might be getting all of this for just 5% of the true cost! 

If you choose ESS and one of our Level 3 Trailblazers, our apprenticeship team can guide and support you through the whole process!

Training your apprentice

There are two types of training during an apprenticeship programme, which will be discussed with your apprenticeship provider for the duration of their training:

  • ‘Off-the-job’ training is delivered by a training provider during your apprentice's normal working hours. They must spend at least 20% of their working hours completing this, and it can be really flexible and doesn’t mean having 1 day out of work each week. It could be completed online, at their place of work or even at college or training sessions provided by your coach. Frequency can vary such as 1 day per week, part of a working day or even in blocks of time.
  • ‘On-the-job’ training will be delivered by you, as the employer. You'll need to give your apprentice training and supervision to help them perform the job you've hired them for.

All of this will teach and upskill your apprentice with the knowledge, skills and behaviours that is required of the apprenticeship standard and as part of their job role, resulting in them achieving occupational competence. This can all be agreed with your training provider to suit both your business needs and the apprentice before you commit to anything.

Woman teaching student at work

End-point assessments

The End Point Assessment Organisation otherwise known as (EPAO) is independent from the employer, training provider and any on-programme Awarding Organisation to ensure any assessments are impartial. This is the final stage and assessment of the apprenticeship and ensures all requirements have been met as set out by the Institute for Apprenticeship & Technical Education also referred to as (IfATE) for the apprenticeship standard. Apprentices will have to meet the requirements of the Gateway to continue to EPA, this is specific to the apprenticeship standard and once all components of the EPA are passed the EPAO will request the learner is awarded with a certificate. Your training provider will also ensure you receive any additional on-programme certificates including Functional Skills.

The EPAO must be selected early into the apprenticeship and must be registered to assess the apprenticeship standard the apprentice is undertaking, you can easily find an EPAO using the online tool 'Find an end-point assessment organisation for your apprentice.' as you need to decide which EPAO will conduct the assessment to prepare the apprentice whilst on-programme, however we would strongly suggest you speak to your training provider for guidance on the EPAO, as they will be able to support you through this.

For some apprenticeships, passing the EPA and completing the apprenticeship will also lead to professional recognition by an authorised body. with some apprenticeships requiring you to complete a mandatory qualification as part of the standard, however some training providers may offer you the opportunity to complete an ‘added value’ one too.

Should an apprentice fail any of the components of their EPA, they will be offered the opportunity to take a re-sit. We would suggest implementing a supportive action plan responding to feedback from the EPAO and discuss this with your training provider.

For more information about the End Point Assessments, you can watch an Employer Webinar here.

Creating an apprenticeship service account

The apprenticeship service is a government online service which will allow you to set up and manage your apprenticeships, but you can make things easier and let us complete this on your behalf!

All apprenticeships in England must be managed through the apprenticeship service and you will need to set up an account in order to use the service.

If you want Essential Site Skills to raise cohorts on your behalf, you will need to go to the home page and select Training Provider Permissions. You will be shown a list of the training providers you are connected with. You will also be able to add a training provider. By selecting the relevant provider, you can allow for cohorts and vacancies to be created on your behalf. We highly recommend you choose this option, so your training provider can complete tasks on your behalf. Overall approval will always be forwarded to you to complete.

Why you need an account:

By creating an apprenticeship service account, you'll be able to:Woman looking at apprenticeship service account online

  • access and manage apprenticeship funding
  • set up and approve apprentices
  • advertise roles on the 'Find an apprenticeship' service
  • approve training costs
  • check payments to training providers
  • give training providers permission to carry out some tasks on your behalf
  • give feedback on apprenticeship training

How to create an account

To create an account, you will need:

  • an email address
  • permission to add your PAYE schemes to the account
  • permission to accept the employer agreement on behalf of your organisation

You will also need either the Government Gateway login for your organisation, or your accounts office reference number (AORN) and employer PAYE scheme reference number.

For further guidance on how to create an apprenticeship service account, watch this helpful video.

Alternatives to Apprenticeships

Have you considered the Kickstart Scheme, Traineeships or T Levels?

The Kickstart Scheme is a great option if your business is looking to offer 6 month job placements to help young people gain valuable work experience, that may lead to a permanent placement at your business. It is aimed at young people who are currently claiming Universal Credit or are at risk of unemployment. You can find more information here.

Traineeships are also a great option for 16-24 year olds who don’t have the skills or experience to take on a job or apprenticeship, more of a development programme where individuals can complete an unpaid work placement alongside a training course. You can find more information here.

T Levels are two year courses combining industry placement and classroom training, aimed at 16-18 year olds. They are equivalent to 3 A Levels. You can find more information here.

Remember your training provider can support you through all of this!

Call ESS if you are interested in any of our Level 3 Apprenticeship Programmes:

Want to find out more?

Contact Us