How would my department benefit from having an apprentice?
Apprenticeships offer an opportunity for departments to think long-term about to hard-to-fill posts. They also develop a pipeline of talent, provide tailored training ensuring specially-qualified employees, bring vitality and fresh perspective to the work environment, develop mentoring skills in existing staff and give back to the community by allowing its members the opportunity to reach their potential and advance their career prospects.
How do I find out where my nearest training provider is?
All the information about training providers can be obtained from the Apprenticeships Manager. The Apprenticeships Manager will be able to help you identify the nearest training provider, guide you through the selection process and assist you in the event that you may need to change training providers part-way through the Apprenticeship.
If I started someone on one type of Apprenticeship but wanted to switch them to a different one part-way through, can I do it?
Yes, it can be done but this is probably not ideal! By spending time thinking about the needs of your department and the requirements of the job beforehand, you can avoid the need to do this.
How does an apprentice fit into my department?
First and foremost, your department needs to identity a suitable role for an apprentice. An apprentice is a paid employee and must be employed for at least 30 hours per week, for a minimum of 12 months, as indicated above. If you need support identifying a position for an apprentice, contact the Apprenticeships Manager.
Does my department pay the salary?
Yes – an apprentice is your employee. See the section on 'Budgeting' for details on the salary, which is fixed on a progressive scale.
Are grants available to cover wage costs?
Not specifically, no. An apprentice is your employee, who is performing work while training.
Are there any other sources of funding for salaries?
There are occasionally funds available to incentivise employers in certain sectors such as IT and Digital Skills, as well as the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) which operates a long-standing grant system for construction-related roles. But remember that depending on your sector and the age of the apprentice, significant amounts of government funding may be available to cover the training costs.
Who pays for the training?
Government funding for the 'off-the-job' training is available depending on the sector and the age of the apprentice. The government’s priority group for apprenticeships is 16-18 year-olds and funding is prioritised for that group. Generally, government funding is provided as follows, with the balance made-up through employer or individual contributions:
- 16-18 year-olds: 100% of training costs
- Over 19: Up to 50% of training costs usually
You may find that funding is available for certain sectors via the relevant Sector Skills Council or that a Training Provider will reduce or even waive contributions where due. Some providers will count ‘in kind’ contributions such as provision of equipment or use of training room, etc.
Additional and/or on-the-job training is generally the employer’s responsibility.
Do apprentices have a special contract?
Yes they do. The University has developed an apprentice-specific contract based on the current support staff contract which reflects the special status of the apprentice. See the section on 'Recruiting an apprentice'.
Can current members of staff do an apprenticeship?
Yes – current members of staff who are looking to advance their skills or who are changing roles within a department are also invited to become apprentices. See the section on 'Apprenticeships for staff'.
What happens once the apprenticeship is finished?
At the successful completion of an Apprenticeship (i.e. having gained a formal qualification and performing at the required level in the role), Personnel Services will issue a certificate formally recognising this achievement. In order to qualify for an automatic appointment (where one is available) to a post in the department, the apprentice must normally have:
- Completed the appropriate training period
- Attended the course of study and attained the appropriate qualification(s)
- Demonstrated satisfactory competence in the role.
If there is a suitable post available and the apprentice has satisfied the division/department as to their competence to perform at the requisite grade, they may be considered for appointment to a post without the post being advertised more widely.
In such cases, departments should follow the University’s guidance on ‘Recruitment without advertising ('direct appointments')’.
Where a suitable post is available to which the apprentice is successfully appointed, a new contract of employment should be issued to the individual. Unless the individual has previous unbroken continuous service with the University, the start date of their Apprenticeship will be used as the date of their continuous service with the University. Continuous service is used for the purposes of certain entitlements, such as the University’s sick pay scheme and calculating the entitlement to family leave benefits, e.g. maternity pay.
I cannot afford any extra staff but could one of my existing team do an apprenticeship?
Yes – anyone who has officially left school can do an apprenticeship, though not everyone will be eligible for funded training. Anyone who holds a university degree, for example, will be ineligible for government funding for an apprenticeship. If you require support figuring out funding eligibility, contact the Apprenticeships Manager.
My department is ready to recruit. What do I do next?
See the section on 'Recruiting an apprentice' for further details.