Taking on an apprentice can be a great benefit to your business. Not only can an apprentice provide an extra pair of hands, but you’re able to grow your own talent.

An apprentice can be either a new recruit or an existing employee and you can get funding to help support the cost of training and assessment.

Your responsibility as an employer when taking on an apprentice

An apprenticeship must last at least one year but can be up to 5 years depending upon the course being studied. During this time, you have 3 key responsibilities as an employer. You must make sure your apprentice:

  1. Works with experienced members of staff
  2. Learns job-specific skills
  3. Gets time off during their working week to allow for apprenticeship training

You must have employers’ liability insurance in place. If you trade as a limited company with two or more people already employed by the business (including directors), then you should have this in place already.

However, if you’re a sole trader or the only person in your company and decide to take on an apprentice, then you must take out employers’ liability insurance.

There are 4 further requirements to meet when taking on an apprentice:

  • Your apprentice must be provided with the same benefits as other employees, including sick pay and holiday entitlement.
  • You must issue your apprentice with a contract of employment and pay them at least the apprenticeship national minimum wage.
  • You must provide your apprentice with a minimum of 30 hours of employment per week. (Note: If an apprentice is unable to work 30 hours a week due to personal circumstances or due to the particular nature of employment, then the absolute minimum of 16 hours per week must be met. In such cases, the duration of the apprenticeship should be extended.)
  • You must provide your apprentices with an apprenticeship agreement, which must be signed by both you and the apprentice.

Further information on taking on an apprentice

NAPIT work with many colleges and organisations throughout the UK to provide support to apprentices.

They are able to assist apprentices by offering NAPIT Student membership free of charge and providing continuous support throughout both the practical and theoretical aspect of their apprenticeships. Visit the NAPIT website to find out more.

For further information on taking on an apprentice, visit Employing an apprentice: Overview – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)