An Employers Guide To Apprenticeship Funding Rules

Written by Nicola Wylie

Need help understanding the apprenticeship funding rules 23/24? We’re here to help.

Apprenticeships offer a fantastic opportunity for businesses in England to build a skilled and qualified workforce right under their own roof. As an employer, you get to bring on new talent, develop expertise specific to your company’s needs, and benefit from government funding to offset training costs. Not bad, right?

In this blog post, we dive into the ins and outs of the apprenticeship funding rules for 2023/2024. The better your understanding of these regulations, the more prepared you’ll be when it comes to requesting financial support and providing a successful apprenticeship programme within your organisation.

*All information for this blog is sourced from the Department of Education’s Apprenticeship Funding Rules document which can be found here.

Who Qualifies for Funding?

The eligibility criteria for apprenticeship funding apply to both the apprentice and the apprenticeship itself. Here’s a breakdown of the key points to consider:

Apprentice Eligibility

  • Age: The apprentice must be 16 or over on the day their apprenticeship begins.
  • Residency: The apprentice must be a resident of England.
  • Qualifications: The apprentice can’t already hold a qualification at the same level or higher than the apprenticeship they’re pursuing.
  • Right to Work: The apprentice must have the legal right to work in England.

Apprenticeship Standard Eligibility

The apprenticeship standard you choose must be approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE). For a full list of approved standards, head over to the IFATE website.

Employer Eligibility

While there are no specific employer eligibility criteria outlined, it’s important to demonstrate your commitment to supporting the apprentice throughout their training journey. This includes providing them with the necessary on-the-job training and mentorship opportunities.

Understanding Your Roles and Responsibilities

A successful apprenticeship programme hinges on a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities for all parties involved:

The Employer

  • Financial Responsibility: You must pay your apprentice at least the national minimum wage for their age and experience level.
  • On-the-Job Training: Your apprentice must receive the practical, on-the-job training outlined in the agreed training plan. This includes assigning a dedicated line manager for guidance and support.
  • Health and Safety: You’re responsible for ensuring the apprentice’s health and safety throughout their training period.

The Apprentice

  • Commitment to Learning: It’s the apprentice’s responsibility to attend all scheduled training sessions (“on-the-job” and “off-the-job”) and actively participate in their learning journey.
  • Meeting Objectives: The apprentice is responsible for achieving the competencies and qualifications outlined in the apprenticeship standard, e.g., the End Point Assessment.
  • Professional Conduct: The apprentice must maintain a professional attitude and adhere to workplace policies.

The Main Provider

  • Initial Assessment: The main provider, typically a college or training provider, is responsible for initially assessing both the apprentice’s eligibility and the suitability of the chosen apprenticeship standard for their needs.
  • Funding Claims: They handle claiming apprenticeship funding from the government on your behalf, ensuring all necessary documentation and evidence are in order.
  • Training Plan Agreement: They work together with you and the apprentice to agree on a training plan that details both on-the-job and off-the-job training components.
  • Progress Monitoring: The main provider conducts regular reviews alongside the employer and apprentice to monitor progress and ensure the apprenticeship is on track for completion.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Apprenticeship Programme

While the core funding rules are crucial, optimising your apprenticeship programme involves going above and beyond the basics. Here are some points to consider for a truly successful experience:

Choosing the Right Standard

Take the time to carefully analyse your business needs. What skills do you require in your workforce? Based on your answer, you can more accurately select an apprenticeship standard that aligns with those specific skills. 

For further guidance, feel free to get in touch with the standard’s developing body or employers who already use the standard.

Tailoring the Training Plan

While the standard sets out the core curriculum, the agreed training plan allows for some customisation. This is your opportunity to create bespoke off-the-job training modules and on-the-job projects that match your company’s unique environment and operations. 

For instance, integrate real-world company projects into the training or invite guest speakers from relevant fields to share their expertise.

Mentorship and Support

Assign a dedicated mentor within your company to guide and support your apprentice throughout their training. Their role is to provide career advice, answer questions, and help the apprentice integrate smoothly into the workplace culture. 

But choose wisely. The mentor should be someone with experience in the relevant field and possess strong communication and interpersonal skills.

Celebrating Achievements

It’s so important to acknowledge and celebrate the apprentice’s progress and milestones throughout the programme. This can be through verbal encouragement, awards, or recognition within the company, it’s completely up to you. 

Positive reinforcement motivates the apprentice to keep striving for success and shows that you care about their accomplishments. Celebration should be equal across the board, so all apprentices feel included and valued in the same way.

Beyond Funding: The Benefits of Apprenticeships

It’s no secret that financial support from apprenticeship funding is a major advantage. That being said, there are benefits to apprenticeships that extend far beyond cost savings. 

Here’s a glimpse into the additional advantages of incorporating apprenticeships into your business model:

Build a Loyal Workforce

Apprentices invest time and effort into learning your company’s specific processes and company culture. On successful completion of their apprenticeship, they’re highly likely to want to remain loyal employees. 

Develop Specialised Skills

Apprenticeships allow you to build a workforce from scratch with the exact skillsets you need. By tailoring the training plan, you have a blank slate to equip your apprentices with the technical and industry-specific knowledge necessary to excel in their roles.

Boost Innovation

Apprentices bring fresh perspectives and new ideas that are vital for business growth. They can help inject a youthful, dynamic energy into your business, boosting creativity and innovation. 

Improved Productivity and Efficiency

As apprentices gain skills and experience, they become more productive members of your team. This means increased efficiency and a positive impact on your company’s bottom line.

Positive Employer Branding

Your commitment to developing the next generation of skilled professionals through apprenticeships does wonderful things for your employer brand. This can attract top talent and position your company as a socially responsible organisation.

Next Steps: Resources and Support

Now that you have a solid understanding of apprenticeship funding rules and the broader benefits of the programme, you’re ready to take the next step. 

Here are some valuable resources to help you navigate the process:

  • Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) – This government agency is responsible for overseeing apprenticeship standards and providing guidance for employers. You can find a comprehensive list of approved standards and resources for getting started on their website.
  • GOV.UK – The government website provides official guidance on the latest apprenticeship funding rules.

Here at Employing an Apprentice, we connect budding apprentices with employers looking to recruit fresh talent.

We offer a range of services for employers so you can attract fresh, new talent to your organisation:

Call 0345 872 4501 or email today to begin attracting top talent to your business.

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Last Updated: Tuesday April 30 2024
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