Choosing the right apprentice for your business

There are a few steps that should be considered before your business dives in to hiring a new apprentice such as, how large businesses and SME's can work together, taking advantage of apprenticeship levy's, and the process in hiring an apprentice.

The steps for an employer taking on an apprentice

It’s an exciting way of taking new talent on board, but may not come naturally to you or your hiring managers – and we know just how much business owners have on their minds at any one time!

That’s why the team at About Apprenticeships have come up with a list of simple steps for an employer when hiring an apprentice.

From initial thoughts of exactly who you’re looking for to attracting applications and preparing for the interview process, below we list the 10 employer steps for hiring an apprentice.

1. Decide who you’re looking for

It’s important to spend time thinking about the skills, knowledge and behaviours you are looking for in your new apprentice. Writing the person specification and job descriptions can really focus the thinking around who and what you are looking for. Think about the skills and knowledge you need now but also in the future.

The person specification should include essential and desirable skills. Whilst putting this together be mindful that you are recruiting an apprentice and they may not have much work experience or be able to show particular skills. You want to make sure that this person’s specification is a realistic guide and that it does not put potential apprentices off applying, you could be missing out on great enthusiastic conscientious candidates.

The job description should include the job title, main duties and the purpose of the role and what part they will play in your business. You should also include the location of the role and some information about your company.

When you are ready to advertise your apprentice vacancy you will be required to complete the apprenticeship vacancy template, so it’s worth having the job description and person specification completed as you will need this to complete the template.

2. Decide how much you’re going to pay

The rates for the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage change every April.

The minimum pay for an apprentice is currently £5.28, and you can not pay less than this but you can pay more. This is worth considering when looking for certain skills and the level of study that is required to complete the apprenticeship.

We recommend using our apprenticeship cost calculator to work out how much it will cost to train and employ an apprentice.

3. Advertise your apprenticeship

Your apprenticeship training provider can help you with this and it is important to not just rely on word of mouth as this will limit the number of candidates that you attract, and does not satisfy equal opportunities or apprenticeship requirements.

Using our jobs board will open up your vacancy

As mentioned earlier, your chosen training provider will be able to help or even manage this for you, and it is in their interest to do this using the information you provide them. This will help attract the best possible candidates for your business.

If you have your own recruitment website you can link your vacancy to that and also other major recruitment websites to ensure you cast the net as wide as possible.

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Receiving an apprenticeship levy

discussing the apprenticeship levy Are you looking for extra funding to help with training in your small business? Our team at About Apprenticeships are here to simplify the process and help you on your way to receiving a levy donation.

Larger employers who are required to pay the apprenticeship levy may have unused apprenticeship funds. They have the option to transfer 25% of this to another smaller employer who could benefit from the extra resources.

These funds could support the training of apprentices within your business, helping not only combat skills shortages in your own workforce but aid the skills gap across the UK. So why not take the time to apply for a levy donation and grow your business further?

Before we explain the simple steps on how to receive your levy, here are five important facts employers should know about it:

  • ​​Only levy-paying employers can make a transfer
  • Any employer can receive and use transferred funds
  • Sending and receiving employers have to be registered on the apprenticeship service
  • A transfer can only be used to pay for training and assessment for apprenticeship standards
  • Transfers can only be used for new starts, except where the apprentice is changing employer and an agreement to continue their apprenticeship with their new employer is through a transfer of levy funds

Follow these 8 simple steps to receive your apprenticeship levy: 


  1. Firstly, ensure you have an Apprenticeship Service account set up.
  2. You will then need to add the PAYE scheme details of each employee interested in an Apprenticeship.
  3. You can explore levy donors through the account to find a pledge which suits your sector (or if a levy donor is already known, you can send a request directly to the employer).
  4. From this point, you will provide your requirements (apprenticeship type, start date and duration) to the transferring employer, including supporting information about your business (contact information, future, plans, etc.).
  5. The levy donor will review the application, complete their due diligence checks (usually by contacting yourself for further information if necessary) and they will then approve or reject the request.
  6. After discussions with the levy donor, you will select the training provider to deliver the apprenticeship training.
  7. The transferring employer provides final approval online.
  8. Monthly payments are made directly to the chosen training provider once the apprenticeship starts.

Got any questions? We can help

If you have any questions about the cost of an apprenticeship to your business, the available funding options, or questions about the apprenticeship levy, we can help.

If you’re ready to start looking for an apprentice, our jobs board could help you find the perfect candidate for your business. Take a look at our jobs board now