6 things you didn’t know about taking on an apprentice

 25 January 2016

At Creative & Cultural Skills, we often find that employers are unsure about some of the details of taking on an apprentice. So we’ve put together six facts about apprenticeships that you may not know.

1. Apprentices are employees

They are subject to the same employment conditions as any other employee in your company, but might need a bit more support if they are new to the world of work.

Apprentices must have a 12-hour break between one shift ending and another starting, but this is no different from anybody else that might work set hours each day (e.g. 10am-6pm Monday to Friday).

2. There’s no age limit for apprenticeships

Most apprenticeships in the industry are filled by 16-24 year olds.

An apprentice can be any age as long as they are 16 or over. However the older the apprentice is (21+) the less government funding they are entitled to, so their training may need to be funded by you or them. It is common for employers to make a contribution towards the costs of training for apprentices aged 19 or over.

Most apprenticeships in the creative and cultural industries are filled by 16-24 year olds.

3. You won’t need to pay National Insurance

Currently you need to pay Employer National Insurance (NI) for apprentices as you would any other employee earning at the minimum NI threshold and above. 

From April 2016 employers will not need to pay NI for apprentices under the age of 25.

4. They are entitled to holidays

Apprentices should have the same entitlement as other staff do, in line with your company holiday policy. So if you offer employees 25 days of leave each year, you must give your apprentice the same. This also applies to any other benefits you offer, e.g. childcare vouchers.

5. Graduates can be apprentices – at a cost

Apprenticeships are typically for non-graduates. While a graduate can undertake an apprenticeship, there is a strong likelihood that the apprentice and/or their employer would need to pay the full training costs that the college or training provider would normally cover through government funding. This can be thousands of pounds.

6. You don’t have to employ them at the end

There is no obligation to employ an apprentice at the end of their apprenticeship, but please don’t leave it until the end to tell them if you can’t keep them on. Manage their expectations throughout.

Sara ran an Apprenticeship Surgery at the 2016 Creative & Cultural Skills National Conference. Tickets are on sale now for 2017.

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