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Apprentice Employer Information

For all the apprenticeships we offer please see our Apprenticeship Course Directory 

Apprenticeships offer a great opportunity to recruit the next generation of your workforce as well as upskill existing employees. If you’re looking to attract motivated new talent to develop new skills, creativity and enterprise into your organisation then Buxton & Leek College can support the specific needs of your business. We will work closely with you to develop a program that meets your business needs.

Buxton & Leek College is in a unique position being part of the University of Derby, many of our College level apprenticeships have progression routes into University/Degree level Apprenticeships.

Your questions answered

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a work-based training and education programme that allows apprentices to earn as they learn. Apprentices are given in work opportunities alongside off-the-job training to achieve a Nationally recognised qualification, more information about off-the-job training can be found below.

The new Apprenticeship standards have been developed by groups of employers to ensure all apprentices have the skills, knowledge and behaviours required by the industry. Learning is now taught through off-the-job learning which could be college attendance, shadowing in the workplace, specific training courses provided by the employer, attending trade shows or being taught in the workplace by a skilled person. Some of our Apprenticeships, such as engineering, still operate a traditional weekly day release to college format, others, such as Childcare & Education, operate a 6 weekly college format – Please speak to us to confirm.

Key Facts
  • The minimum duration of an apprenticeship is 372 days plus the End Point Assessment (EPA), which can be a few months.
    • Typically, a level 2 or 3 apprenticeship has a duration of between 12-36 months plus EPA.
  • Off-the-job training must account for 20% of the apprentices working time, this is paid and forms part of their working week.
    • The minimum working hours is 30 per week including training, we can often accommodate variable hours – please discuss with us.
  • Apprenticeships are open to anyone aged 16 or over and must have the right to work in the UK.

What are the stages of an apprenticeship? 

  • Recruitment/Application – To study an apprenticeship apprentices need a college placement and apprenticeship employment. 
  • Interviews – Apprentices will have a college interview to secure a college place and an employer interview, it is the employers’ choice who they hire as their apprentice.  
  • Enrolment – All necessary paperwork will be completed such as the apprentice employer contract to fully enroll the apprentice on to the course.  
  • Induction – The apprentice will attend a college induction day where they’ll get a student card, receive login details, have a look around, meet other apprentices etc. Employers will make their won arrangements to induct their apprentice into the workplace and this is recorded on the SmartAssessor system.  
  • On-program – This is the longest part of the apprenticeship where the skills, knowledge and behaviors needed to satisfy the apprenticeship are gained through on and off the job training. During this time the apprentice will build a portfolio of evidence using SmartAssessor.  
  • Gateway – The college and employer will review the knowledge, skills and behaviours gained by the apprentice to ensure they have met the minimum standards required and are ready for their end point assessment (EPA). 
  • End Point Assessment (EPA) – This is the final assessment of the apprenticeship overseen by an independent assessor. The apprentice must pass this to achieve their apprenticeship.  
  • Achievement and Progression – After passing the EPA Apprentices are issued with certificates and next steps are discussed, for example; a level 3 apprenticeship, employment or Higher Education. 

The benefits of employing an apprentice

Hiring an apprentice is a productive and effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. 

Gov.uk reports:  

  • 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 

 Other benefits of working with apprentices include: 

    • you can adapt their training according to the needs of your business 
    • they’re motivated to learn new skills 
    • you can expand and upskill your workforce 

How do I find an apprentice?

Our BLC Apprenticeships Team offers a tailored service to each employer as we recognise that not all business’s needs are the same. Our apprenticeships team will discuss your options and conduct a training needs analysis if required. If you are happy to proceed with apprentice recruitment we will advertise your apprenticeship vacancy on our own dedicated web page and the ‘find an apprenticeship’ Government site, we will also use social media to highlight vacancies and look to match any existing applicants to your role.

From initial inquiry to apprentice completion and beyond our apprenticeships team are here to support and assist you. Our instructor mentors are industry experienced and qualified, one of them will be assigned to the apprenticeship on commencement and will be your first point of call throughout the apprenticeship.

The wider team can also be contacted by emailing feapprenticeships@blc.ac.uk or calling 0800 0740099.

What is ‘off-the-job’ training?

All apprentices must complete a minimum of 20% off-the-job training hours, the number of hours depends on the length of the apprenticeship and how many hours the apprentice is employed for, the off-the-job hours total will be set out at apprenticeship commencement.

There are different types of off the job training, such as;

  • Theory teaching – College attendance, simulation exercises, online learning and industry specific training.
  • Practical training – shadowing experienced employees, mentoring and industry visits.
  • Apprentice lead learning – using online resources and time spent working on assignments or projects.

Of-the-job does not include:

  • Training undertaken in Maths or English.
  • Progress reviews.
  • End point assessments.
  • Any training which takes place outside the apprentice’s paid working hours.

Off-the-job training can be provided by both the college and the employer, time spent completing off-the-job training is recorded on an ePortfolio platform, Smart Assessor, employers will be given access to the system in order to track their apprentices progress.

What is expected of an employer during an apprenticeship? 

Employers must provide their apprentice with a contract of employment, there should also be a job description to outline the expected duties (we understand this may vary throughout the apprenticeship). Employers are also obliged to ensure they are paying their apprentice at least the apprenticeship minimum wage for the whole time they are working, paid working time also includes the 20% off-the-job hours.

There is more information about minimum wages here; National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage Rates

You and your apprentice must sign an apprenticeship agreement.

It includes:

  • how long you’ll employ them for
  • the training they’ll receive
  • their working conditions
  • the qualifications they are working towards

You must also sign an apprenticeship commitment statement with your apprentice and the training provider.

It must include:

    • the planned content and schedule for training
    • what is expected and offered by the employer, the training organisation and the apprentice
    • how to resolve queries or complaints

You will also need to offer your apprentice on-the-job training, supervision and support to complete the tasks they have been set.

You would usually complete an induction with your apprentice, this could cover general fire safety, manual handling, training on specific company equipment, where to access to company policies and who their mentor and/or line manager is.

Funding

If you’re an employer with fewer than 50 employees the government will fund the training and assessment costs up to the funding band maximum.

This only applies to apprentices who, on the first day of the apprenticeship;

  • Are between 16 and 18 years of age
  • Are between 19 and 24 years old with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan provided by their local authority or has been in the care of the local authority.

If you have 50 or more employees or the apprentice does not meet the above criteria you’ll share apprenticeship training and assessment costs with the government, this is call co-funding.

This means:

  • The business is liable to pay 5% towards the cost of training.
    • The amount will vary depending on the apprenticeship studied.
  • The government will pay the remaining 95%.

There is a possibility of your local council covering the 5% fee through a levy transfer program, please see below for more information. 

Levy paying employers with an annual pay bill of £3 million or more

The levy funds can be accessed to cover the cost of tuition fees for apprenticeship training at any level and for new or existing employees, if you don’t have enough funds, you just pay 5% of the outstanding balance and the government will pay the rest.

 

Apprenticeship Grant & INCENTIVE

Apprenticeship grant 

All employers will receive, subject to a successful claim, a £1,000 apprenticeship grant provided one of the following statements apply at the commencement of the apprenticeship;

  • The apprentice is aged 16-18 years old.
  • The apprentice is aged 19-24 years old and has previously been in care or who has an Education, Health and Care plan provided by their local authority.

This grant is awarded by the government however it is claimed on behalf of employers by the college.   

CITB Grant for Carpentry & Joinery

The grant for Apprenticeships covers:

  • Off-the-job attendance with an approved Apprenticeship provider
  • Achievement of an Apprenticeship.

Attendance grant is payable up to the apprentice’s last date in learning or the typical duration of the standard, whichever is earlier.

You can apply for grants for directly employed individuals only.

Application for this grant should be made directly through CITB HERE  There is also some information you may find useful in our handy guide to the digital account service, incentives and grants, a link to which can be found below.

levy transfer programs

We have been working with Staffordshire & Derbyshire Councils to transfer some of their levy fund to cover the 5% fee for SME’s. Unfortunately, these funds are not always available so please contact us to discuss availability.  

For more information please contact our apprenticeships team; 0800 074 0099, email feappretniceships@blc.ac.uk or complete our contact request form.

 

Useful information & Videos

 

There are lots more how-to videos available on the ESFA YouTube Channel HERE alternatively please contact the Apprenticeships Team at feapprenticeships@blc.ac.uk or 0800 0740099