Recruiting an apprentice

Please ensure you have followed the recruitment freeze and redeployment protocol before commencing any recruitment process.


The recruitment process

The recruitment freeze and redeployment protocol applies to Apprenticeship recruitment as to any other post. It aims to:

a) define a stricter authorisation process for the recruitment of all staff, except research posts that are fully funded from external grants; and

b) support our current staff by strengthening redeployment arrangements to allow movement between roles to offer opportunities for those whose contracts are ending.

Apprenticeships will offer opportunities for staff being redeployed to train for other suitable employment across the University within that first internal application phase. Apprenticeships will also continue to attract local talent into posts where suitable internal candidates do not exist. This supports continued development of the skilled workforce to aid our world leading teaching and research activity. Of course, all of this training and support is funded through the University’s Apprenticeship Levy.

At every stage, the Apprenticeship Team is here to offer advice and support. We can help to develop Job Descriptions and identifying the suitable courses and Training Providers. And where recruitment does go to external, our providers can offer full support with this as usual.

Before commencing any further, please see the University's recruitment freeze and redeployment protocol:



  1. The recruitment process for hiring an apprentice is often easier because many training providers will take care of the initial stages of recruitment. All a department needs to do is develop the job description and get approval for the vacancy. If you are thinking of hiring an apprentice, please get in touch with the Apprenticeships Team (Step 1) to discuss the job description and the Apprenticeship that will meet your department's requirements. There may already be an existing apprenticeship job description that would suit your vacancy.


  2. The job will be advertised (Step 2) as usual on the university website (in line with the new University recruitment protocol). If this role is unsuccessful internally, it may be advertised externally. At that point, it may be listed on the Government Apprenticeship website by the training provider and this is where the applications are made.
  3. Once the vacancy has closed, the training provider will test the candidates and shortlist for you (Step 3).
  4. You will receive a shortlist of suitable candidates for interview and selection (Step 4).

To make recruiting as easy as possible we have developed a range of Apprenticeships specific documents such as job descriptions and contracts (see the templates tab). These have been approved by the gradings and central policy unit and simplify the whole process. 

Additional information about the existing types of apprenticeships can be found by searching keywords on the government website.

Please also remember to use the Handling Apprenticeships guide for using HRIS/Core.


Useful templates

Click the link below to find templates which will help you through the recruitment process. These include:

  • Apprenticeship Advert

  • Apprenticeship Job description

  • Apprenticeship Contract

  • Apprenticeship Learner Agreement

Here you will also find a copy of the University Apprenticeships Guidelines.




Budgeting for an apprentice

Apprenticeships are coordinated by Personnel Services and are funded by the Apprenticeship Levy which means there are no additional costs to departments for the training.

Details of how the Apprenticeship levy works can be found here


Additionally, your department will normally be responsible for the following:

  •     Provision of the relevant books and equipment that the apprentice needs
  •     Travel expenses incurred by the apprentice to attend their training course(s) (when these are over and above the costs of their normal travel to work)


Apprentices join on a fixed term contract for the length of the apprenticeships. At the end of each apprenticeship, you can appoint the corresponding apprentice directly onto a role or end the fixed term contract.

To ensure that all staff are treated equally it is important that there is a clear and agreed salary progression framework that applies to all apprentices (except for existing staff). Therefore there is an agreed and standardised reward system which starts at Apprenticeship Grade 1 in the first year and rises annually to Apprenticeship Grade 4.



Training for supervisors


Becoming an Apprenticeship supervisor can be a rewarding experience for members of your staff on both a personal and a professional level.

A one day training session for mentors and supervisors is available and organised by the Apprenticeships Team.

Delivered at locations around the university by external professional trainers, it is available at least termly and at minimal cost. If someone in your team has been identified as a potential supervisor they are encouraged to take this course.

Please check our eventbrite page or contact the University Apprenticeships Team for further details. 

Next date will be announced soon!

Please get in contact if you would like to be notified when the next date has been announced.


It is also really useful for an apprentice to have a mentor. A member of staff who has previously been an apprentice is ideal for this role. 

Basic information about the mentoring role can be found in the following document, but any staff who have the responsibility of supervising an apprentice is strongly encouraged to attend the training mentioned above.


Anyone doing Apprenticeship-based training will spend at least 20% of their time on Off The Job (OTJ) training. Apprentices don’t need to be called away from their job one day a week - in fact, they don't even need to leave the office...


Off-the-job training refers to any activity relevant to the job but not covered by day-to-day tasks. Department of Education (DoE) guidelines on Off The Job training state "It is the activity, rather than the location that determines whether the training meets the funding rules definition"


The ESFA sets out that the definition is as follows:

“Off-the-job training is training received by the apprentice, during the apprentice’s paid hours, for the purpose of achieving their apprenticeship. “It is not training delivered for the sole purpose of enabling the apprentice to perform the work for which they have been employed. “Off-the-job training is a statutory requirement for an English apprenticeship. “Off-the-job training must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship framework or standard, teaching new knowledge, skills and behaviours required to reach competence in the particular occupation.”

The Apprenticeship funding rules state that off-the-job training can include the following:


  • “The teaching of theory (for example: lectures, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning or manufacturer training) 
  • “Practical training: shadowing, mentoring, industry visits and attendance at competitions,
  • “Learning support and time spent writing assessments / assignments.”
Q: Why must all off-the-job training, including where it has been re-arranged, take place during paid hours? 

A: An apprenticeship is a work-based programme. The training is required to help the apprentice become fully occupationally competent in the workplace. Therefore, it is reasonable that the apprenticeship should be delivered during the apprentice’s working hours. It is not appropriate, and would be unfair, to expect an apprentice to undertake the apprenticeship in their own time, in addition to their job role. The delivery of the apprenticeship content is flexible. It is up to the employer and the training provider to decide at what point during the apprenticeship the training is best delivered. This could be a proportion every day, one day a week throughout, one week out of every five or some other variation. This will depend on what is best for the organisation and the apprentice.


Q: Does the 20% off-the-job training requirement apply to all levels of apprenticeships?

A: Yes, there is no differential based on the level of the programme. At levels 2, 3 and 4 some employers are arguably more accustomed to a day-release type of model, which equates broadly to the 20% minimum. The eligibility criteria for the apprenticeship programme is the same regardless of level, i.e. that the individual requires significant upskilling to be occupational competent. Therefore the input of training, and how and when it is delivered, is also the same, regardless of the level of apprenticeship.


Q:Has the ESFA considered the financial burden that the 20% off-the-job training policy places on employers?

A: An individual will only be engaged in off-the-job training if they are an apprentice, and they should only be an apprentice if the employer has agreed that they require significant new learning (which meets the minimum threshold) to be able to perform their job effectively. If the individual does not require this level of training and can perform their job adequately without it, then they should not be engaged on an apprenticeship.

For those that are engaged on an Apprenticeship there may be an initial loss of productivity, due to the time the apprentice is engaged in training, but in the long term, the new skills that the person brings back to the workplace, which makes them fully occupationally competent, should compensate for this. An apprenticeship is one of many programmes on the market and a different programme may be a better fit for an individual or their particular employment circumstances, e.g. those that require a smaller amount of training or those where the employer cannot commit to the amount of training time to be delivered within working hours.


Q: How does the minimum off-the-job requirement work with prior learning? If someone has prior learning recognised do they have to do additional training to make up 20% of their time on programme?

A: Apprentices are not expected to do extra (unnecessary) hours, but they still have to do a minimum of 20% off-the-job training. 18 For example, if the apprenticeship requires a level 2 and a level 3 qualification and the individual already had the level 2, then the training provider should recognise this as prior learning. In doing so they are reducing the cost and the duration of the apprenticeship (as the apprentice now only requires the level 3 qualification).

The new (reduced) duration must still meet the minimum training duration threshold of 12 months. Of this new (reduced) duration, 20% of the working hours for this period should be spent on off-the-job training. The apprentice is still doing the minimum 20% off-the-job training (albeit against a reduced timeframe) and their previous learning has also been taken into account.


All FAQs can be found on the Department for Educations 'Off-the-job training: policy background and examples document'.

Related links




Contact us

Apprenticeships Team

T: +44 1865 270536