Apprentices outside City Hall

Why hire an apprentice?

Over 20,000 employers in London use apprenticeships. It helps them attract new talent, upskill their staff and tackle skills shortages.

Apprenticeships are available in a range of sectors including accounting, marketing, business and administration, project management and health and social care.

Apprenticeships suit all businesses

Apprenticeships are suitable for all sizes of business. A 2012/2013 survey of over 300 London employers offering apprenticeships found that most of them (64 per cent) were small businesses with fewer than 25 staff.

Businesses in London say that apprenticeships have helped: 

  • improve product or service quality (75 per cent)
  • improve staff morale (67 per cent)
  • improve staff retention (60 per cent)

Other benefits reported include higher productivity, attracting good staff and a better image in the sector.

Find out how apprentices have worked in different businesses across London, and how they could be relevant to your business. 

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Apprenticeships are for everyone

Apprenticeships are for anyone aged 16 plus who wants to earn whilst they learn. They can be:

  • intermediate: equivalent to GCSE level
  • advanced: equivalent to A-level
  • higher: equivalent to degrees

An Apprenticeship can last from one to four years – as long as the apprentice is employed and given industry relevant training so they have the skills needed to do the job.

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Paying an apprentice is easy

An apprentice must be paid through the usual payroll process by their employers. Employment should normally be for 30 hours a week, but may be more.

Apprentices under 19, or in their first year, must be paid the apprentice minimum wage rate.

For Higher Apprenticeships, those over 19, or after the first year, the government’s national minimum wage applies for their age. Find out more on the gov.uk website.

Setting up an apprentice agreement

There are lots of ways to recruit an apprentice for your business: word of mouth, press ads, social media, your website, Jobcentre Plus and the gov.uk's find an apprenticeship page.

However you recruit an apprentice, you are legally obliged to have an apprenticeship agreement for when they start. That’s a signed agreement between the apprentice and their employer.

It sets out the skill, trade or occupation the apprenticeship relates to including the specific framework.

It often form parts of the apprentice’s contract of employment, in addition to their individual learning agreement.

Are you ready to hire an apprentice?

The National Apprenticeship Service offers expert advice to small- and medium-sized businesses on apprenticeships. It can also put you in touch with relevant colleges and training providers.