An apprenticeship agreement is a compulsory form that must be signed by both the apprentice and employer.

All employers that offer apprenticeships are required complete an apprenticeship agreement with their apprentice before the apprenticeship commences. The apprenticeship agreement confirms the employment arrangements between the apprentice and employer. These include:

  • The apprenticeship standard connected to the apprenticeship;
  • The dates during which the apprenticeship is expected to take place, including the start and end dates for the practical period; and
  • The planned amount of time provided by the employer to the apprentice for off-the-job training.

Off-the-job training is defined as the training which is received by the apprentice, during the apprentice’s regular working hours, for the purpose of achieving the apprenticeship standard. It differs from the on-the-job training received by the apprentice which aims to enable the apprentice to perform the work relating to the apprenticeship effectively.

The apprenticeship standard refers to the way that the apprenticeship programme is set up and the different academic difficulty levels of the work involved. There are four types of apprenticeship based on different academic levels and these comprise Intermediate, Advanced, Higher and Degree.

The academic level that the apprentice is undertaking should correspond to the qualifications that they are bringing into the apprenticeship and this should have been discussed and agreed upon in advance so that the apprentice knows what to expect. 

There would be no point asking a school leaver with very few qualifications to do a degree-level apprenticeship as the academic side of things would likely be beyond their abilities, so it makes sense to check this information before proceeding.

An apprenticeship agreement does not take long to complete. This simple form can be worked through in under half an hour with your apprentice. It is simple, clear and straightforward to understand. It is vital to ensure comprehension of all of the main points of the agreement, this is to ensure that informed consent can be given by all of the parties to the agreement. This will help to ensure both your business and apprentice, are fully informed of the agreements they are committing to before signing.

Once completed and signed by both the employer and apprentice, the employer is required to keep the agreement for the duration of the apprenticeship. A copy must also be provided to the apprentice and the training provider for their own records.

Apprenticeship Commitment Statement

As well as an apprenticeship agreement, the apprentice is also required to sign an apprenticeship commitment statement. This statement is the equivalent of a contract of employment and sets out every aspect of the apprenticeship. 

The parties to the signing of the commitment statement are the employer, the apprentice and the training provider. It sets out in detail what is expected from each party and underscores their commitment to the successful achievement of the apprenticeship standard. 

The apprenticeship commitment statement sets out the expected outcomes, the ways in which the apprentice will be supported and the grievance procedure that they can follow if they feel that they are not being treated fairly at any point. This is important so that they can raise any difficulties before they reach the point where they are beyond being resolved. 

Leaving an Apprenticeship

Although it is less than optimal for anyone involved, sometimes an apprentice needs to leave an apprenticeship and they can do so in the same way that they would leave a job. The apprenticeship agreement and apprenticeship commitment statement do not compel them to stay and complete the apprenticeship.

Obviously, it is much preferable to find solutions to any problems that may derail the apprenticeship but sometimes that is just not possible. There are many reasons why a young person may leave an apprenticeship and some of them are nothing to do with the quality of the offering. Some of the reasons can relate to mental health difficulties and sometimes the workplace culture just doesn’t suit them. 

A lot of the time when apprentices leave apprenticeships before they have been completed it is because of complicated family dynamics, where a sudden bereavement has thrust them into the role of the main carer for a family member. In circumstances like that, there is no choice but to leave the apprenticeship, no matter how well it was going. 

Further Information on Apprenticeship Agreements

To find out more about the specific regulations associated with apprenticeship agreements, and access an apprenticeship agreement template, visit the dedicated government website

While it is not mandatory to use the template provided, we strongly recommend using this government-provided template. Completing this template will help ensure your business meets the apprenticeship agreement requirements set by the government.