To keep up with the demands of the modern workplace, more employees are turning to apprenticeships to upskill and develop professionally.

But as an employer or line manager implementing an apprenticeship programme can be both a confusing and daunting task.

To help start you on the right foot, our Employer Partnership Manager Lee Spicer shares his advice on how best to manage and support your employee throughout their apprenticeship.

What standards are available to my employee?

All of them. There are over 470 apprenticeship standards approved for delivery, spanning a wide range of industries and job roles. For example, your employee could choose to start an apprenticeship in digital marketing, customer service, team leading or LGV driving. It’s important that the choice of apprenticeship standard is a joint one, as you’ll want to ensure it develops relevant skills and adds value to your business.

Can’t find a suitable standard? Consider forming or joining an industry trailblazer group to help create, develop and deliver completely new standards that suit your business needs.

What level of standard is right for my employee?

As with all types of training, it’s important you and your employee choose a standard at the right level for their stage of career. In the UK apprenticeship standards are broken down into levels, starting at level 2 and finishing at level 7. This means your employee can benefit from apprenticeship training at anywhere from entry to degree level. The level you choose should build the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to progress within their role or move into a more senior role. They should develop new capabilities that support them on their career path while bringing tangible benefits to your business.

Is funding available for my employee’s apprenticeship?

The funding you’re entitled to depends on whether your business pays the apprenticeship levy (you can read our full levy FAQs here to find out more). If so, you can use the funds gained through your levy tax to cover the full cost of your employee’s apprenticeship training. If not, you can take advantage of the government co-investment scheme. This scheme allows you, the employer, to pay just 5% of the total cost of your employee’s training. The other 95% is co-invested by the government.

You can read more about your funding options by clicking here.

Will my employee need to spend 20% of their time off the job?

For some employers the 20% off-the-job requirement that comes with apprenticeships can seem like a big commitment. Don’t worry, off-the-job training doesn’t always mean your employee will be off-site on day release. Your employee’s training could take multiple forms to accommodate your business requirements and their individual responsibilities. For example, training could take the form of webinars, job shadowing, conferences and distance learning.

You can read more about off-the-job training and understanding the 20% rule by clicking here.

We’re tight on resources… How do I support my employee throughout their training?

For many employers, supporting an employee in their apprenticeship seems impossible due to the lack of business resources. But just because you’re not Apple this doesn’t mean you can’t support your employee to develop with their programme. In fact, you can help support your employee in a few simple ways;

  • Be understanding – Your employee is undertaking a new learning process that requires their attention and commitment
  • Be open – Your employee may come to you with questions or advice relating to their programme. Try your best to be open and share what advice and knowledge you can with them
  • Be accommodating – There may be opportunities for your employee to attend events or take part in other industry-related activities. Try your best to accommodate these requests, and know you’re bringing value back into your business
    You may also want to consider employing a training provider to manage the apprenticeship training for you. The right training provider will be able to provide a great deal of support to your business, from delivering training, managing your employee’s progress via a learner management and answering questions about the programme or course your employee might have through the delivery coach

What if my employee drops out of their apprenticeship?

Usually both you and your employee will want to see their training through to the end, however there can be instances where your employee drops out of their programme without completing for various reasons. This can affect you and your business in different ways;

  • If you pay the apprenticeship levy, the payments you make towards your employee’s training will stop and you’ll be able to invest your remaining funds in a new apprentice
  • If you use the co-investment scheme, any funds you’ve ‘overpaid’ in advance for your employee’s training may be paid back. However, this will depend on your individual circumstances

Is your employee interested in starting an apprenticeship? Contact a member of our team today to find out how we can support your employee.