- Choose an apprenticeships framework or standard
There are so many standards out there for apprenticeships, but before deciding upon the framework or standard, there are many points that you may wish to consider; whatâ€™s your end goal? What skills and expertise do you seek? Are you looking to upskill an existing role or a create new role?
Before embarking on the journey, itâ€™s best to be mindful of the costs, time taken to complete the apprenticeship, impact upon the current staff. As with 20% off-the-job training, you need to consider who will mentor the apprentice and do you have the internal framework to support the learner, and an external provider if you are not an employer provider.
- Find your organisational partner
Donâ€™t just pick the first training provider who youâ€™ve come across, there are countless providers to choose from. Before you make your decision, itâ€™s best to carry out some research; visit their website, look at reviews, request endorsements and case studies from the provider. Itâ€™s best to consider the following also;
- If your key contact is unavailable, who will provide the support required?
- Will the provider hold regular meetings with the apprentice and will they be available when required by the learner?
- How is the apprentices learning logged and are you able to access this?
Ensure you have good communication between the apprentice, the provider and yourselves, as it is essential you are aware of every step of their journey.
- Funding and the apprenticeship levy
Apprenticeships policies vary throughout the UK with each nation managing their own apprenticeship programmes, including how funding is spent on apprenticeship training.
As you may be aware in England, if youâ€™re an employer with a pay bill over Â£3 million each year, you must pay the apprenticeship levy from 6 April 2017. Guidance on how to pay the apprenticeship levy can be found here.
The levy applies to all apprenticeship starts funded after 1 May 2017, the levy does not affect apprentices who started an apprenticeship programme before this date.
- To report and pay your levy to HMRC - PAYE process.
- The official Government advice on the apprenticeship levy
- The official Government site for the apprenticeship service
- Employers who donâ€™t pay the levy - introducing a new â€˜co-investmentâ€™ rate to support (when employers and government share the cost of training and assessing apprentices)
If you do not pay the levy, you can still take advantage of apprenticeship levy funding through transfer of funds from a levy-paying employer. The transfer rate has been recently increased from 10% to 25%. For further details of how to transfer and obtain transferred apprenticeship levy funds, read our article here.
- End-Point assessment
If youâ€™re not familiar with End Point Assessment Organisations (EPAOs), youâ€™re not alone. They were introduced in the last year to regulate the newly introduced End Point Assessment (EPA) process. An EPA is a series of tests apprentices need to undertake at the end of their apprenticeship to ensure the apprentice can prove their ability to do the job they have been training for.
To guarantee these assessments are free from individual bias, there are rules in place to protect apprentices. Both training providers and employers can register as EPAOs, but theyâ€™re NOT allowed to assess their own apprentices. EPAO organisations must be completely independent and their staff must not have any affiliation with the apprentice theyâ€™re assessing.
Hereâ€™s a few key things to consider before you choose your EPAO:
All end-point assessment organisations must be registered on the Register of End-Point Organisations (RoEPAO). To get onto the register, organisations must show proof of financial stability, corporate governance, assessment capacity and a delivery model â€“ including a conflict of interest policy.
EPAOs must be listed against the apprenticeship standard you need assessing as they must have experience in the sector. Where possible, try to check out their assessors. Assessors should be experts in their field with practical experience of the occupation.
Even though an EPAO is registered, they might not be ready to assess the specific standard you require. Prior to appointing your EPAO, request a sample of their questions for the standard, project topics or interview questions.
As stated above, your EPAO must remain independent from the apprentice, so make sure you ask for their conflict of interest policy before choosing your EPAO.
- Advertise your apprenticeship vacancy
Itâ€™s essential for you to have a clear understanding of the apprenticeship you are advertising.. Spread the word as widely as you can, through your website, social media and externally where possible. Be specific as to experience and expertise required to undertake the apprenticeship. Try to give as much information as possible to ensure you get the right candidates. Donâ€™t forget to include the length of the apprenticeship with a clear start date and a copy of their CV!
- Apprenticeship agreement and commitment statement
An apprenticeship agreement is used to confirm individual employment arrangements between the apprentice and the employer, standard employment contracts are not suffice for an apprentice.
The agreement must include a statement of the skill, trade or occupation for which the apprentice is being trained under the qualifying apprenticeship framework or standard, signed by both the apprentice and the employer at the start of any apprenticeship, to confirm individual employment arrangements between both parties.