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What is an apprenticeship

Advice for employers

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is essentially a job with training, enabling candidates to earn while they learn and to achieve nationally recognised qualifications. Apprenticeships are available to businesses of all sizes and sectors and can last from 12 months to 4 years, depending on the type or level of the programme. Apprenticeships can be used to train and develop people in almost any business or sector. They now cover more than 1,500 job roles and are available at three different levels: intermediate, advanced and higher. An apprentice can be either a new or current employee- they’d study a subject specific to their job role with the training provider.

Anyone who is 16 or over can complete an apprenticeship and there is no upper age limit. Apprenticeships are a great way to help people develop their skills at all stages of their career. An apprentice will be supported throughout their apprenticeship by an allocated assessor, who will follow the learner journey throughtout their apprenticeship.

Apprentices should be treated like any other employee in your business – they will have all the same rights and responsibilities and will be paid accordingly. You’ll set the wage for your apprentices, although there is a minimum statutory requirement. The amount changes year on year, however you can check what it is currently here.

The Apprenticeship Grants for Employers (AGE grants) could be available to you if you take on an apprentice aged 16 – 24. For more information please speak to a member of the team.

Main elements of an apprenticeship.

Most of the training is on-the-job, your apprentice will be visisted regulary by one of our dedicated assessors who will visit the apprentice at work, providing support and setting tasks to help them learn job specific skills in the workplace. As an employer you will provide aditional guidence and suport on a day to day basis as you would with any other employee, really allowing you to grow your own talent.

The qualification structure depends on the sector and awarding orgainsation but generally contains Competence, Knowlegde and Functional skills. These elements will be assesed mainly by observations and reviews completed by the assessor however written tasks may also need to be completed.


These units provide evidence of the learners comeptence, focusing on the practical skills required to do the ‘day to day’ job. This element of the apprenticeship is work-based and is usually achieved through assessment and training where specific units are selected at the start of the apprenticeship programme.


These units provide the knowledge evidence, focusing on the understanding of the job role and qualification. Generally, obtaining the technical certificate involves completion of work set by the assessor. The apprentice should be given time to complete this work by arranging and agreeing it with their manager. In the near future end point assessments may be undertaken.

Functional skills

Functional skills are those core elements of English, Maths and ICT that provide individuals with the skills and abilities they need to operate confidently, effectively and independently at work. Functional skills are delivered at appropriate levels to the qualification.

What are the business benefits?

  • Apprenticeships are a tried and tested way to recruit new staff, re-train or upskill existing staff or people returning to your business after a break
  • Companies who invest in apprentices have reported a significant increase in employee retention
  • Learning can often be done in your workplace, meaning minimal disruption and maximum impact
  • Apprenticeships provide you with the skilled workers you need for the future and allow you to grow your own talent
  • Up to 100% funding could be available to support training costs, meaning you will not need to pay for the apprentice’s qualification (however you will still need to pay the apprentice’s wages)

How can I support an apprentice?

Remember, an apprentice is first and foremost an employee, they have made an active choice to join your organisation and learn on the job so that they can progress in their chosen career. They are committed and by building upon this you can develop a valuable and effective member of staff who is well versed in the ethos and beliefs of your organisation.

Some points to consider:

  • Allocate levels of responsibility appropriate to the prior skills, experience and knowledge of the apprentice which may be limited if they are young
  • Outline clearly your expectation of the apprentice from the start
  • Provide a safe and supportive environment in which to work and learn but encourage apprentices to own and drive their own targets and outcomes
  • Apprenticeships are also a fantastic opportunity to develop and upskill your existing staff by encouraging them to act as a role model and coach apprentices working with them
  • Putting a workplace mentor in place can greatly enhance the eagerness, motivation and commitment of an apprentice building up their confidence
  • Carry out regular evaluations and provide ongoing feedback, praise and recognition to apprentices so that they can track their own progress and make any necessary adjustments to ensure the successful completion of their apprenticeship.

How do I recruit an apprentice?

As with all recruitment, getting the right candidate is vitally important if the apprenticeship is to be successful. At Mooreskills we are able to offer a full recruitment package where needed to help you find the right apprentice for your business.


Step 1

Look at your business needs, write a person/job description and decide how much you want to pay in wages.

Step 2

Advertise your vacancy. To get the best possible candidates we can do this for you through the National Recriut an Apprentice service.

Step 3

We will pre-sift applicants and invite them for a pre-screening interview, where we will assess their suitability for the job and qualification, providing you with feedback.

Step 4

You will interview any candidates you feel may be suitable for your business.

Step 5

You will provide feedback to all candidates, agreeing start dates with any that are successful.

Step 6

Together we will create an apprenticeship agreement and the apprentice will start work and their qualification.