There are plenty of benefits to recruiting an apprentice. However, there are some things you should consider before feeling confident about diving in.
Below are some questions that employers commonly ask before hiring an apprentice. For additional information, you should visit our employer’s guide.
Recruiting an apprentice is contractually the same as hiring an employee, so you have to pay them for all of their hours, including those spent in off-the-job training.
However, the National Minimum Wage for Apprentices is far lower than that of a more experienced employee. Currently, the minimum hourly wage in the UK is set at just £4.15, although this will increase to the National Minimum Wage after the first year.
Given the instability of the job market, with nearly half of all adults in the UK looking to retrain, it is not difficult to find talented and experienced individuals willing to take a temporary wage cut. In turn, staff who have been trained by their employer are significantly more likely to remain with that company, reducing future hiring costs.
Working Hours and Holiday Entitlements
The legal minimum off-the-job training hours for an apprentice is 20%. However, the lower the hours spent training each week, the longer the apprentice will have to remain in the apprenticeship. If you have an incentive to fill a skills gap within your company, it may be more profitable to give them more training hours, which you can tailor to fit the needs of your business.
As aforementioned, an apprentice receives a contract like any other employee, which means they still require holiday entitlements amongst other employee rights. Apprentices working full time will receive at least 20 days of holiday per year, as well as bank holidays.
With the government and businesses alike seeing apprenticeships as a viable alternative to employment across the UK, there is an increasing number of funding or schemes to help you hire an apprentice.
Currently, you could receive £3,000 for hiring an apprentice, alongside 95% of your training costs being covered by the government. In addition to this, a large enterprise may offer to cover the rest of your training costs by transferring their apprenticeship levy. For more information on funding, you should read our dedicated guide, which we always keep up to date.
Apprentices’ Rights to Leave the Apprenticeship
The apprentice has the right to leave an apprenticeship early, and according to the Funding Rules, an employer cannot ask for reimbursement for any costs incurred during the apprenticeship.
If an apprentice expresses a desire to end their apprenticeship, it may be a good idea to hire them, so that your company can still utilise those training costs.
Making an Apprentice Redundant
You have the right to make an apprentice redundant, which will also end all future training costs. However, apprentices have the same rights as an employee, meaning that you would have to offer them the same redundancy pay, amongst other things. To find out more, visit the government website on staff redundancies.
If you want to terminate a contract with an apprentice for any reason other than redundancy, you should find legal advice.