How much will it cost me?

You need to pay the apprentice a salary that does not go below the minimum wage.

The current hourly rates (as at April 2019) are:

Apprentice - £3.90; Under 18 - £4.35; 18-20 - £6.16; 21-24 - £7.70; 25 and over £8.iu.

Rates change every April.

Apprentices are entitled to the apprenticeship rate if they are either aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship.

For example, an apprentice aged 22 in the first year of their apprenticeship is entitled to a minimum hourly rate of £3.90. If the apprentice is aged 22 and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, they are entitled to a minimum hourly rate of £7.70.

All employers with an annual wage bill of over £3million pay the apprenticeship levy.  As an employer in England, who doesn’t pay the apprenticeship levy you would need to pay the training provider directly for training your apprentices.

Non-Levy paying employers pay 5% towards the cost of training and assessing your apprentice. The government pays the rest – 95%, up to the funding band maximum,

Employers with fewer than 50 people working for them will not have to pay the 5% contribution for an apprentice who is aged between:

  • 16-18 years old
  • 19-24 years old who has previously been in care or who has an Education, Health and Care plan provided by their local authority

All employers will receive £1,000 if, at the start of the apprenticeship, the apprentice is aged between:

  • 16-18 years old
  • 19-24 years old and who has previously been in care or who has an Education, Health and Care plan provided by their local authority
  • This payment will be made to the employer in two equal instalments via the training provider

 

Finding the right apprentice

Apprentices will spend at least 20% of their time on off-the-job training with your chosen training provider. The minimum duration of an Apprenticeship is one year. Apprenticeships can, however, last up to 6 years, depending on the level.

When you have decided to hire an apprentice, you need to think about the right person for you and the benefits they can bring to your organisation.  If you are working with an ATA who are specifically designed to support employers who wish to take on an apprentice but are unable to in the current economic climate, they can help with the recruitment and administration. When you write the apprenticeship advert to be sure to make it understandable and simple for candidates who will be searching through many other apprenticeship vacancies.

You need to think about:

  • The salary offering – is it competitive, and will it go up over time?

Keep your description brief and concise

How much experience does your candidate need – they may have none

  • Why would they want to come and work for you?
  • What will you say when they ask about their future career prospects with you?

There are ways to help you find the right apprentice. You could:

  • Hold an open day
  • Invite potential apprentices to ‘experience’ a day with you before they join

 

The interviews

Think about what you really need to know and how you will tease this out of the interviewee. You are looking for a perfect match, remember.

Here are some example questions from the government’s apprenticeship site:

  • Can you tell me an interesting fact about yourself?
  • What do you consider your biggest achievements to date in school/college/work?
  • How is your timekeeping?
  • Do you like working in a team?
  • What do you consider your strengths?
  • What do you consider your weaknesses?
  • Why do you think you should be given this apprenticeship?
  • Why would you like to work for our organisation?
  • Do you have any questions you would like to ask us?

 

Choosing a training provider

You will need to choose a training provider. Using https://findapprenticeshiptraining will help you find one by location, job role, and keyword. ICB can help you find a suitable training provider for apprentices following bookkeeping or payroll standards. The training provider must be on the official register of training providers which can be accessed here. The training provider will provide you with as much help and support as you need when you take on an apprentice.

The training provider may also be able to help with:

  • Finding the right apprenticeship for you
  • Preparing your apprenticeship for your organisation
  • Making sure your apprentice is working in an appropriate environment
  • Finding the right pace of learning for your apprentice
  • Work with you to make sure your apprentice is learning the right skills

 

Prep and monitoring

Remember, if your apprentice is coming to you straight from school then they could have limited experience of what is expected of them going into their first real job.

Before the apprentice starts it might be useful to send them a starter pack, so they know what to expect from day one.

It could include:

  • A list of what you would like them to bring – ID, pens, notebook, etc
  • What time you would like them to arrive
  • How they should dress
  • Who they should ask for when they arrive
  • Where to get the bus/train or park their car

Supporting the apprentice through their journey is key to making the experience work for both parties. To help here you should consider:

  • Establish a weekly catch-up with your apprentice
  • Regular updates with your training provider
  • Assigning a member of staff to be their daily ‘go-to’ person

 

Assessment

Once the apprenticeship training is completed an independent End-Point Assessment (EPA) will take place. ICB is an End-Point Assessment Organisation for Level 3 Assistant Accountant, Level 3Payroll Administrator, and Level 2 Accounts/Finance Assistant.  The EPA is the apprentice’s opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned throughout the duration of their apprenticeship.

When your apprentice successfully completes their apprenticeship and EPA, they will be awarded a certificate. The End-Point Assessment Organisation will request the certificate on your behalf.

Your step-by-step guide

1)      Choose an apprenticeship standard for an apprenticeship in your industry and at a suitable level. This can be found here.

2)      Find an organisation that offers training for the framework or standard you have chosen. This can be found here.

3)      Check what funding is available

4)      Advertise your apprenticeship

5)      Select your apprentice and engage an apprenticeship agreement and commitment statement. This can be found here.

 

Conditions and agreements

Apprentices must be employed in a real job that gives them the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills they need to be competent in their role and achieve the required standard to pass their EPA.

You must pay your apprentice for time spent training or studying for their apprenticeship.

You must offer apprentices the same conditions as other employees working at similar grades or in similar roles. This includes:

  • Paid holidays
  • Sick pay
  • Any benefits you offer such as childcare voucher schemes
  • Any support you offer such as coaching and mentoring

You must sign an apprenticeship agreement with your apprentice.

This gives details of what you agree to do for the apprentice, including:

  • How long you will employ them for
  • The training you will give
  • Their working conditions
  • The qualification they are working towards

You can write your own apprentice agreement or you can download an apprenticeship agreement template.

You must also sign a commitment statement with your apprentices and the training provider. It must include:

  • The planned content and schedule for training
  • What is expected and offered by the employer, the training provider, and the apprentice
  • How you will resolve queries or complaints

 

For further details please email apprenticeships@bookkeepers.org.uk or telephone 0203 405 4000 and ask to speak to the apprenticeship department.

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The Advisory Council is a consultative group of members set up to offer advice and guidance to the ICB executive.

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