The steps for an employer

The steps to employing an apprentice

The video below and following information has been carefully put together to help guide you through the process of employing an apprentice.
To register a digital apprenticeship account, click the button below and visit our “Registering a digital apprenticeship service DAS account” page where we take you through the process step by step.

As a small employer, you have access to various funding options

The video below explains these options in more detail
Now you know the types of funding available to you, head over to our apprenticeship cost calculator to see how much it will cost to train and employ an apprentice

Once you understand the costs involved you need to select the right apprenticeship

The video below will help you decide which apprenticeship is right for your apprentice and your business.

Recruiting an apprentice can be easy if you follow some key steps, click the steps below to reveal more information

It’s important to spend time thinking about the skills knowledge and behaviours you are looking for in your new apprentice. Writing the person specification and job descriptions can really focus the thinking around who and what you are looking for. Think about the skills and knowledge you need now but also in the future.

The person specification should include essential and desirable skills. Whilst putting this together be mindful that you are recruiting an apprentice and they may not have much work experience or able to show particular skills. You want to make sure that this person specification is a realistic guide and that it does not put potential apprentices off applying, you could be missing out on great enthusiastic conscientious candidates. 

The job description should include the job title, main duties and the purpose of the role and what part they will play in your business. You should also include the location of the role and some information about your company. 

When you are ready to advertise your apprentice vacancy you will be required to complete the apprenticeship vacancy template, so it’s worth having the job description and person specification completed as you will need this to complete the template.

The rates for the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage change every April.

The minimum pay for an apprentice currently is £4.15 and you can not pay less than this but you can pay more. This is worth considering when looking for certain skills and the level of study that is required to complete the apprenticeship. 

We recommend using our apprenticeship cost calculator to work out how much it will cost to train and employ an apprentice.

The rates for the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage change every April.

Your apprenticeship training provider can help you with this and it is important to not just rely on word of mouth as this will limit the number of candidates that you attract, and does not satisfy equal opportunities or apprenticeship requirements. 

Using the dedicated apprenticeship websites will ensure you open the vacancy to the widest pool of candidates, this is where your future apprentice is looking for the right opportunity. 

As mentioned earlier your chosen training provider will be able to help or even manage this for you, and it is in their interest to do this using the information you provide them. This will help attract the best possible candidates for your business. 

If you have your own recruitment website you can link your vacancy to that and also other major recruitment websites to ensure you cast the net as wide as possible. 

The apprenticeship websites will gather all the applicant information making it easy to review the candidates’ skills and experience. If you also use your own recruitment website or other recruitment websites, make sure you bring all this information together to have the clearest view of all people who have applied. The training provider will be able to help you with this process to ensure it is fair and consistent.

This is the process of selecting the candidates you wish to interview for the role. You can ask your training provider to do the first sift of candidates for you as they will use a fair and consistent process using your criteria, However you can also do this process yourself by asking the training provider to send you all the applications but be mindful that you may have received hundreds of applications and this can be a very time consuming task. Ideally the shortlist of suitable candidates should be created by more than one person to help avoid possible bias, it is important that you do not discriminate against applicants. Your training provider is there to support you in this process. It is recommended that you inquire as to whether the candidates have had any previous employment, this will then enable you to request references to confirm the reliability of the apprentice.

Once you have your shortlist of candidates, they will then need to be invited to the interview process. This can be done by your training provider and they will contact the candidates making sure they know where and when the interview will be, any information they need to bring, what the interview process will be, for example you could have a practical exercise for them to complete. It’s important to note that this could be one of the first important interviews the candidates will attend, so by ensuring they have the most comprehensive information about the interview process they will then be able to focus on the interview itself and you will see the real person behind the applicant. Within the invitation to interview it is important that the candidate is asked if they have any special requirements you should be aware of.

It’s important to plan the interview process and decide if it will be a more of a traditional question and answer interview or are you going to include activities and tasks for the candidates to complete. If interviews are going to be complete over a few days or weeks you must make sure the same process applies for all candidates this makes the process more equitable and fair. 

Best practice is for two or more people to interview the candidates, however remember that it’s quite likely the majority of candidates will be 16 -24 and therefore may not have a great deal of experience outside of the educational environment, so a panel of interviewers would not necessarily be the best idea. Your questions need to be relevant to the job and allow the candidate to talk about their skills and past experiences, this is done to assess their skills for the role. 

You may wish to have the candidates complete a task or a group task in order for you to assess how they approach it individually or how they interact with others. Your training provider will be well equipped to advise you on this, but you could also consider taking the candidates on a tour of your premises and assess their level of interest in your organisation or ask a group of candidates to discuss a professional scenario to assess their leadership and influencing skills.

When a candidate attends an interview it is their chance to form an impression of your company as much as it is for you to find out about them. First impressions count. 

Whether you opt for a traditional interview process or an assessment centre approach, you need to be well planned with the required resource to conduct the process fairly and efficiently. Keeping on time shows professionalism and respect for the candidates. 

Welcome candidates to your organisation, make sure the candidate is introduced to all the interviewers. You will need to explain the format of the interview process and how the job fits within the company. 

Throughout the interview or assessment process it is vital that you and your assessors keep accurate notes and that these are written up as soon as possible after the interview to record what has been said. Remember that written notes can be requested by the candidate post the interview so make sure what is noted is professional and relevant. 

Allow candidates time at the end to ask any questions they might have and then explain the next stages in the recruitment process, giving an idea of the timescale for outcome and feedback. Lastly thank the candidate for attending and showing an interest in joining your organisation. 

Using all the information gathered throughout the interview process you will be able to select the best candidate for your position. Once you have made this decision you will need to liaise with your training provider so that they can be involved in the process. 

You will need to notify the successful candidate, the best way to do this is via a phone call. This would then need to be followed up by an official offer letter, offering them the position. Working with your training provider you will be able to discuss dates, start times and the enrolment process as it may need to be co-ordinated for when a particular course starts.

It is really important to advise the unsuccessful candidates as soon as possible, your training provider may be able to help you with this process. It is also important to be able to provide the unsuccessful candidates with some feedback that they will find useful for them in the future when applying for jobs. 

As these steps have laid out it is vital to have a structured recruitment process in place, you need to follow it closely and keep accurate records. These records could be called upon at a later date, if for example a candidate makes a complaint. 

Please remember you could be in breach of the equality and diversity law if there is shown to be any unfair discrimination in your recruitment process.

All apprentices must have an Apprenticeship Agreement between the employer and the apprentice. The agreement must state that the apprentice will be undertaking an apprenticeship in a particular skill, trade or occupation and can be used to reinforce the understanding of the requirements of the apprenticeship.

The ASCLA introduced the requirement for an apprentice to be employed under an apprenticeship agreement as part of the standard completion conditions for an apprenticeship. Your training provider will be able to assist you in this and some will be able to provide the agreement for you. You can download an apprenticeship agreement template on this page. This document is a template provided by ESFA to assist employers. An apprenticeship agreement must be signed at the start of the apprenticeship. It is used to confirm individual employment arrangements between the apprentice and the employer.

Now you understand the steps to employing an apprentice

Let’s take a look at why employing a young apprentice is a good option for you and your business
You can see the ‘Off-the-job’ infographic below as mentioned in the previous video.

Due to the current pandemic the government has made new incentives available to employers looking to employ an apprentice.

Click the icon below for more information

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Flexi-job apprenticeship will allow agencies to be the apprentice’s employer for the duration of their apprenticeship while placing the apprentice with other host employers for short term placements. This will enable apprentices to move between businesses as they complete their apprenticeship, while remaining employed throughout by the agency.

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PAYE is HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) system to collect Income Tax and National Insurance from employment. More information are available here