The College of West Anglia

Apprenticeships – Employers FAQ

Are you considering taking on an apprentice? We work with hundreds of employers across Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, and have compiled a list of frequently asked questions that employers ask, for your reference.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is ‘work based learning’; on-the-job training, leading to nationally recognised qualifications developed by industry. Students attend college, usually on a day-release basis to receive additional training, or are given assignments and visited by college staff for practical observations.

What is the benefit of taking on an apprentice?

Skills shortages are still one of the biggest threats to UK business. Apprenticeships can help businesses across all industries by offering a route to harness fresh talent. If you have trained staff with the right skills for the job, they can do a wider range of tasks and take on new responsibilities – this can help to reduce skill shortages, minimise staff turnover and workplace accidents, and increase productivity.
Taking on an apprentice is cost effective because your employee can learn while they are working, and the government contributes to the costs of learning.

What are my responsibilities?

Employers have a vital role in the support of the learner. As an employer of a learner on an apprenticeship you will be expected to provide a period of induction within the first week. You will also need to:
• Organise work experience and on-the-job training for the learner, appropriate to the qualification stated in the agreement and to provide suitable and sufficient information, instruction and training to enable the learner to undertake the task given.
• Support the process of NVQ and technical certificates as well as key skill development, where appropriate, and, where possible, organise work experience in the context of technical certificates and key skills to achieve within agreed timescales as identified in the Individual Learning Plan.
• Nominate a named work based assessor or recorder (where applicable) and allocate sufficient time to carry out appropriate responsibilities.
• Provide opportunities for the learner to demonstrate competence in specific tasks.
• Provide an assessment of the learner’s progress on a regular basis.
• Help the learner collect evidence in the work they have done.
• Allow access to college assessors and training advisors to support progress towards the NVQ, through work based assessment and reviews, as required.

Is there a cost to the employer?

Like all employees, apprentices must receive a wage relevant to the job that they are doing. There is also the cost of the supervision, support and mentoring that you will need to put in place to support them.
The cost of training for 16-18 year old apprentices is fully funded by the government, however, if the apprentice is 19 or over an employer contribution is expected, please contact us for further details.
From 1st August 2013, if an apprentice is aged 24 or older, and wishing to study a level 3 qualification as part of an advanced level apprenticeship (ALA), fees will be payable.
The employer must also supply PPE (personal protection equipment) where relevant, and ensure that the learner is covered by their employer liability insurance.

What does the apprentice get from the college?

Our job is to ensure that the training fits the apprentices’ personal requirements, offers the skills needed for the job and satisfies national standards. We are also able to offer them personal and learning support.
When you take on an apprentice we will appoint a training advisor who will work with you to make sure that the training is well planned. Once the apprentice begins, they will follow their progress (including regular three-way reviews with the employer and learner) and deal with any issues that may arise.

Is there a limit to the number of apprentices an employer can have?

No; employers can take on as many apprentices as they can support.

Where do apprenticeships take place?

Most of the time is spent in the workplace, with additional training taking place at college, either on a day or block release basis. More and more courses are delivered solely in the workplace, with college attendance only necessary for functional skills delivery.

What levels of apprenticeship are available?

We offer apprenticeships (level 2) and advanced apprenticeships (level 3) in a variety of subjects.

How long does the training last?

Our apprenticeships range from 1-4 years depending on the level and subject.

Is there any financial assistance available to employers?

Employers may be eligible for an apprenticeship grant, funded by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS). For more information, please see the leaflet here.