Take on an apprentice in England

Information about funding, eligibility and frameworks for taking on an apprentice in England.

Taking on an apprentice

An apprenticeship is an accredited programme of working and learning and is used to provide skills to a new generation of workers.

The apprentice undertakes a combination of on-the-job training with an employer and off-the-job training with a college/provider.

The first step is to identify what job you wish the apprentice to do. This will determine what apprenticeship qualifications they will work towards.

The next step is to identify a college or provider to deliver the apprenticeship. They will check that the apprentice will be working in a safe environment and help the employer to recruit. 

Once the apprentice starts, they will traditionally work four days a week and attend college one day a week, but alternatives might exist.

Periodically the college will visit the workplace to assess the apprentice. This will go towards the apprentice achieving their qualification, and therefore their apprenticeship framework.

Who can take part in an apprenticeship? 

In England any registered employer can take on an apprentice. You can still arrange for a non-registered employer status (sole trader / freelancer) to take on an apprentice through an Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA).

The apprenticeship must be linked to industry developed qualifications that form an apprenticeship framework.

There are over 250 different types of apprenticeships available, covering over 1,400 types of job roles.

What are Creative Apprenticeships?

We have nine types of apprenticeships that were developed specifically for our sector and are called Creative Apprenticeships. They are:

Costs and funding information

In England, the cost of the off-the-job training element is funded by the government. There are some rules around this funding:

  • The apprentice must be employed and paid at least the National Apprenticeship Minimum Wage. We always encourage employers to pay more or to increase the salary as their apprentice’s skills increase.
  • They should work for a minimum of 30 hours a week, including college time, and the the employment should aim to last a minimum of a year.
  • The apprentice must not have achieved an educational qualification level higher than A Levels. Level 4 and above and graduates are excluded from this funding.
  • Funding is targeted at 16-18 year olds and employers are expected to contribute to the training for apprentices that are 19+. The amount will differ from college to college.

The key financial support for taking on apprentices in our sector in England has been the Creative Employment Programme, which is now closed for applications.

There are other incentives that derive from either the National Apprenticeship Service or Job Centre Plus.

Further additional support can be more localised and often linked to the Local Authority or the Local Enterprise Panel (LEP). Examples include the London Enhancement for AGE Grant of £1,500; Greater Manchester Commitment of £750; and numerous incentives with the Nottingham Apprenticeship Grant. 

How Creative & Cultural Skills can help

We can offer technical expertise in the identification of the relevant framework and training provider to deliver that framework.

Apprenticeships can be advertised for free on our careers resource Creative Choices.

Trailblazer information


If you would like an informal chat about our service and what it can offer you, or you’d like to discuss whether apprenticeships could work for your business, please get in touch at [email protected] or call us on 020 3668 5753.