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Apprenticeships – what you need to know

Apprenticeships are now available in the UK to anyone over the age of 16 and not in full time education. This means they are not restricted to school leavers but available to anyone who wishes to gain new skills, develop existing ones or generally improve their employability. For employers, it is a great way to upskill your workforce.

An apprenticeship is a genuine job which has a training or skills development programme running alongside it. Employers who want to take on an apprentice must have an apprenticeship agreement in place and comply with the rates of pay set out by the government.

Apprenticeships have changed significantly over the years.  Now, as well as the levels 2 – 3 which are the equivalent of a GCSE to A level, you can do higher level apprenticeships (level 4-7) which are the equivalent of university degrees. The scheme comprises a combination of on the job and off the job training, with 20% of the apprentice’s time spent at college or a similar approved place of training – all while receiving a salary.

If you are thinking of taking on a younger apprentice or training someone with more experience, you can access financial incentives to make it more affordable.  Employers can now get incentive payments of up to £3,000 for hiring a new apprentice of any age between 1 April 2021 – 30 September 2021. This is in addition to the £1,000 payment for hiring an apprentice aged 16-18 or someone aged 19 to 24 with an education, health and care plan or who has been in the care of their local authority.

At GWA we recognise that university or college is not the best route for everyone. Some of our longest serving, most dedicated colleagues joined us straight out of school and are now Head of Departments. We think that the apprenticeship scheme provides fantastic opportunities for employers and apprentices alike and are in the process of recruiting for our Fast track  AAT/ATT-Chartered Accountant training programme and as well as someone to join our in-house IT team.

The government website apprenticeships.gov.uk provides more details and support to anyone considering either becoming or employing an apprentice.

Alternatively, if you would like some advice from our in-house HR team on setting up an apprenticeship scheme, please get in touch with the GWA partner in charge of your affairs.

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