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Frequently asked questions

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes that are designed to help employers train people for specific job roles. At the same time, apprentices get a paying job with valuable training for 20 percent of their time while they work towards a nationally recognised apprenticeship standard or framework.

What are Degree apprenticeships?

Degree Apprenticeships are apprenticeships that include an undergraduate degree from a UK university as part of the programme.

Is an apprenticeship right for my business?

Higher and degree apprenticeships offer you a cost-effective solution to recruiting and upskilling talent in your business. A common misconception is that apprenticeships are only available within specific sectors and typically more manual industries. In reality, the introduction of higher and degree apprenticeships – as well as the apprenticeship levy for large organisations – means a variety of sectors can now benefit from them.

Who can I put forward for an apprenticeship?

You can choose to either recruit a new member of staff to undertake an apprenticeship or put forward an existing staff member looking to upskill, meaning there is no age limit to who can undertake one. An apprentice must fulfil the entry criteria for their course of interest to be accepted by NTU, as well as be in full time employment, working a minimum of 30 hours a week, and be contracted for at least the same length of time as the apprenticeship course.

I’m a business owner, can I undertake an apprenticeship?

Unfortunately not. Shareholders or company directors with no identifiable line manager are not eligible to undertake an apprenticeship. An identifiable line manager must also be an employee of the company and must be on the company PAYE Scheme.

I’m self-employed and/or registered as a sole trader, can I undertake an apprenticeship?

Unfortunately not,  People who are self-employed and registered as a sole trader are not eligible to undertake an apprenticeship.

How much time will my apprentice spend studying?

As an employer, it is your legal obligation to provide apprentices with a minimum of 6 hours of off-the-job training time to support their studies. This can include things such as work-based projects, personal tutor contact, taught blocks, independent study and workplace mentor meetings.

Apprentices are permitted to have a minimum of 6 hours per week dedicated to off-the-job training, irrespective of the total number of hours worked by the apprentice. Our team can work alongside you to advise you how best to implement the minimum of 6 hours off-the-job portion of time for your apprentice.

How much will it cost and what funding is available?

The cost of an apprenticeship can vary depending on the course you choose. Higher and degree apprenticeships present an opportunity not only for large levy-paying organisations, but also SMEs who, depending on their size and pay bill, could be eligible for government funding. Funding and levy payments can only be put towards the cost of the training, and cannot be used for additional activity related to the apprenticeship (e.g. travel, accommodation etc.). We can help guide you through the different routes to funding an apprenticeship, no matter your company’s size.

What is expected of me as an employer?

As well as allowing apprentices time to take an average of 6 hours per week over the duration of their apprenticeship for off-the-job learning, as part of your obligations as an employer you will need to allocate an employee / workplace mentor for each apprentice to support them through their studies. The role of the employer mentor is a key part of the development of your apprentice, therefore NTU offers complimentary mentor training to all employer mentors, as well as ongoing support throughout the duration of the apprenticeship.

What employment contracts do apprentices need?

All apprentices must have a contract of employment which is long enough for them to complete the apprenticeship programme. They must also have a job role (or roles) that provides them with the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to achieve their apprenticeship.

Employment can be offered either on a fixed-term or permanent basis, however the apprenticeship must last a minimum of 12 months, regardless of age or prior experience.

Do apprentices have to be employed full time?

The minimum duration of 12 months is based on an apprentice working at least 30 hours a week, including any off-the-job training they undertake. If the apprentice works fewer than 30 hours a week, or where a part-time working pattern is needed, you must agree with the training provider to extend the apprenticeship accordingly.

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 and the apprenticeship levy that your organisation pays into can support with the funding.

How long does an apprenticeship take?

The duration of an apprenticeship differs from course to course, a typical degree apprenticeship can take anywhere between two and seven years. You can find details of the length of individual courses on each dedicated course page.