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Apprenticeships
covid economic recovery programme – APPRENTICESHIP INCENTIVE PAYMENTS

The Government has announced extra incentive payments for businesses who hire an apprentice between 1st August 2020 and 31st January 2021.

These payments are in addition to the existing apprentice employer grant of £1,000 for 16-18 year old apprentices or apprentices 19-24 years old with an Education Health & Care plan.

For apprentices aged 16-24 the incentive is £2,000, and for apprentices aged 25 or over the incentive is £1,500. The incentive will be paid directly to employers in two equal instalments, where the apprentice is still in learning at day 90 and day 365. The apprentice cannot have been employed by the business in the 6 months prior to the apprenticeship. Although there is no limit to the number of apprentices a business can hire, and therefore claim incentive payments for, the business must ensure they have enough duties for all apprentices they employ and have time to offer training and supervision in the workplace.

Please note that the kickstart wage rebate does not apply to apprentices.

For more information about any aspect of apprenticeships or if you are ready to hire and would like to advertise please email feapprenticeships@blc.ac.uk and one of our apprenticeships team will respond as soon as possible.

Apprenticeships offer a great opportunity to recruit the next generation of your workforce as well as upskilling 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 programme 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.

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.

Apprenticeship frameworks are no longer available having been phased out by the Education & Skills Funding Agency. The new ‘standard’ apprenticeship has been developed to be occupation focused not qualification led. They set out the skills, knowledge and behaviours an apprentice will need to have learned by the end of their apprenticeship. The learning takes place throughout the apprenticeship with input from both the College and the employer. At the end of the apprenticeship the apprentice will need to demonstrate they have met the standard needed in their skills, knowledge and behaviours to prove they can carry out all aspects of their job through an end point assessment (EPA).

  • The minimum duration of an appetniceship is 372 days plus the EPA, which can be a few months. Typically a level 2 or 3 apprenticeship has a duration of between 12-36 months plus EPA.
  • The minimum number of hours per week an apprentice can be employed for is 30 hours, this includes their off the job training.
  • Apprenticeships are open 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 upto the employers which candidate they believe is the best suited to their business.
  • Enrolment – All necessary paperwork will be completed such as the apprentice employer contract.
  • On-program – This is the longest part of the apprenticeship where the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to satisfy the apprenticeship are gained through off-the-job training and in work opportunities.
  • Gateway – The college and employer will review the knowledge, skills and behaviours gained by the apprentice to ensure they have met the minimum standard and are ready for the end point assessment (EPA).
  • End Point Assessment (EPA) – This is the final assessment of the apprenticeship overseen by an independent assessor.
  • 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.

Why choose an apprenticeship with BLC?

  • A cost-effective way to train, develop or upskill a workforce.
  • A way to motivate staff and improve job satisfaction.
  • A way to improve staff retention rates.
  • Train employees to your own requirements with the skills and knowledge your business needs.
  • Apprenticeships can be used as part of your future employment plan.

All of our programmes are designed to help apprentices link academic theory to their employment setting, enabling them to apply their developing skills and knowledge within their job role. Apprentices are encouraged to use real work problems and issues to inform and enhance their knowledge, and provide evidence of this learning for assessment purposes. Apprentices will be given work-related activities to undertake, which can be designed in consultation with employers to ensure your organisation receives a real benefit. This type of activity can be scheduled to suit the apprentice reinforcing time and workload management skills.

How do I find an apprentice?

Our BLC Apprenticeships Team offer a tailored service to each employer as we recognise that not all businesses needs are the same. Our business relationships team will discuss your options and conduct training needs analysis if required. If you are happy to proceed with apprentice recruitment we can then advertise your specific apprenticeship vacancy, this will be listed on our own dedicated web page, social media pages, the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) website and we will seek to match existing applicants to your role.

From initial enquiry to apprentice completion and beyond our apprenticeships team are here to support you and assist with any questions or problems you may have. Our assessors are industry explained 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 apprentice’s must complete a minimum of 20% off-the-job training hours, the actual amount of hours depends on the length of the apprenticeship and how many hours the apprentice is employed for, you will be advised on how many actual hours the off-the-job training are required at the commencement of the apprenticeship.

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 of 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 apprentices with employment in a real position within its organisation and must issue an employment contract, giving the apprentice a minimum of 30 hours per week and paying them a wage or salary that meets minimum requirements. There is a national minimum wage for apprentices, which is from £4.15 per hour from 1st April 2020 however there are circumstances where an apprentice should be paid above the apprentice minimum. We encourage employers to pay above the National minimum, offer increments as skills develop or performance bonuses however, we understand not all employers are able to do this. Apprentices 20% off-the-job training is paid time.

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.

*You may also be able to claim the apprentice employer grant, more details are below*

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:

  • You, as the employer, will pay 5% towards the cost of training and assessing your apprentice.
  • The government will pay the remaining 95% up to the funding band maximum.

The actual costs of the training and assessment varies by apprenticeship.

*You may also be able to claim the apprentice employer grant, more details are below*

We are working with local councils to offer local businesses the opportunity to take part in the Levy Transfer program, this can cover the 5% employer fee, please see below for more details.

If you are an employer with an annual pay bill of £3 million or more you will pay 0.5% of your annual total pay bill into a levy fund. Introduced by the government in 2017, the apprenticeship levy is designed to encourage employers to invest in high quality apprenticeships.

The levy funds can be used to pay for apprenticeship training at any level and for new or existing employees, if you deplete your levy fund and still have capacity to support additional apprentices you will be able to access some government funding but there will still be a cost to your business, this is called co-funding.

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.

The grant is paid via the college in two instalments of £500 but has no control on awarding grants.

levy transfer programs

We are on of the privileged few training providers to be working with both Staffordshire & Derbyshire Councils as part of their levy transfer initiative to offer eligible local businesses within their respective geographical areas to recover the cost of the 5% co-funding contribution. For more information about this opportunity please contact our apprenticeships team; 0800 074 0099, email feappretniceships@blc.ac.uk or complete our contact request form.

Useful information about the Apprenticeship Levy:

Government News – Apprenticeship funding to transform investment in skills 

Apprenticeship funding for employers: how will it work?

Online calculator – understand how much levy employers will pay and how funds can be used to pay for training employees

Online apprenticeship service to enable levy paying employers to manage apprenticeship funds, estimate spend and recruit apprentices