What employers need to know when hiring apprentices

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    AlanPrice

    AlanPrice Contributor, Peninsula Business Services Full Member

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    Apprenticeships are a popular way of gaining new talent as it allows employers to train new employees in a way which best suits the nature of their business. New employees are not only gaining industry-specific knowledge, but are also learning the internal processes specific for the company.

    Apprenticeship programmes combine work, on-the-job training and classroom-based training, which can result in nationally recognised qualifications and can last anywhere between one and five years to complete.

    Government Support

    Employers may be able to qualify for a government apprenticeship grant if they have less than 50 employees and the apprentice that they are taking in on is between 16 and 24 years old. The current government grant is £1,500.

    Apprenticeship Levy

    From April 2017, employers with an overall wage bill of £3m or more will have to pay an apprenticeship levy contribution.

    This money can then be used to fund apprenticeships – but it must be paid regardless of whether the employer currently employs any apprentices and whether they intend on taking on any apprentices.

    The amount of an employer’s annual levy is 0.5% of their annual wage bill minus £15,000. Employers in England will receive a 10% top-up on their levy pot from the government.

    National Minimum Wage

    All apprentices under the age of 19, or age 19 or over but in their first year of the apprenticeship are entitled to the minimum rate of (currently) £3.30 an hour. Once the apprentice becomes over 19 years of age and has completed the first year of their apprentice programme, they become entitled to the national minimum wage or national living wage rates for their appropriate age bracket.

    Work and training

    Apprentices should work for at least a minimum of 30 hours per week including off the job training, however, some part time apprenticeships can be for a minimum of 16 hours per week.

    The normal laws on maximum working time including rest breaks apply to apprentices: if under age 18, a minimum break of 30 minutes is required when the working day is more than 4.5 hours; if over age 18, 20 minutes’ break is required when the working day is more than six hours.

    An apprenticeship offers a large amount of training, some based on the job, some through an external training provider. Training can be structured differently depending on the company or the training organisation, for example, sometimes training can take place part-time on a daily basis or in a full-time block of training over a certain period.

    Apprenticeship contract vs apprenticeship agreement

    There are two types of apprenticeship relationships, which can exist between an employer and their apprentice: an apprenticeship agreement or an apprenticeship contract.

    In England and Wales, all apprenticeships beginning on or after 6 April 2012 must be governed by an apprenticeship agreement. The agreement must meet certain requirements, for example, the inclusion of the qualifying apprenticeship framework; a statement of the skill and an indication that the agreement is governed by the laws of England and Wales.

    Additionally, an apprenticeship agreement has to specify all of the same terms and conditions of employment as a ‘normal’ employee, such as normal hours of work hour, pay, holiday pay, sick pay policy, pension arrangements etc.

    In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the agreement that covers apprentices is a contract of apprenticeship which is different to an apprenticeship agreement in terms of content and the way it is managed.

    An apprenticeship contract allows the individual the same employment rights as an ordinary employee, along with significant extra protection. Fairly terminating an apprenticeship contract prematurely before it comes to an end naturally is more difficult as it offers additional protection to the individual in relation to any conduct issues. Dismissing because of conduct or capability is very difficult and the normal warning system that is adopted for disciplinary issues with ‘normal’ employees cannot be used.

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  2. ethical PR

    ethical PR UKBF Legend Free Member

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    Did Penisular Services pay to write this content...if so, then it should show as sponsored content. If not, why didn't you give one of the regular contributors on HR matters a chance to write something, rather than someone who hasn't contributed to the forum before?
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
    Posted: Jul 6, 2016 By: ethical PR Member since: Apr 19, 2009
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    ChrisGoodfellow likes this.
  3. ChrisGoodfellow

    ChrisGoodfellow UKBF Regular Full Member - Verified Business

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    Thanks for the comment @ethical PR.

    Penisular did not pay for the article (as you mention, all sponsored content is flagged appropriately). It's a really good point about getting regular contributors to post and I've started to reach out to more forum members to ask them to get involved (please send any recommendations to [email protected] or PM me) and we recently had @Clinton write a piece about acquisitions, for example - they'll be more and more of this as we move forward.

    I'll also make sure those that are new to the site do make an effort to engage (I'll write a follow-up to Peninsular now).

    I know we need to get better at making a link between the editorial content and the audience - please bear with us we're working on it. :)

    Chris
     
    Posted: Jul 11, 2016 By: ChrisGoodfellow Member since: Jul 10, 2014
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