Employer guide to apprenticeships: How to hire an apprentice in the East Midlands

So, you’re ready to hire an apprentice? You’ve come to the perfect place!

When it comes to hiring an apprentice, it can be hard to know where to begin. But don’t worry, you’re not alone! It’s fair to say there are a few rules and regulations you need to get your head around, but we’re here to help guide you through the entire process. Whether you’re based in Nottingham, Mansfield, Northampton and Leicester, or Lincoln, Derby and Chesterfield then we’re here to help you.

In our 10-step guide, we explain:

  • How to hire an apprentice
  • What is the apprenticeship recruitment process?
  • How to prepare for interviews
  • Offering the job
  • Available funding for apprenticeships
  • How we can support you

Before you start the apprenticeship recruitment process…

If you don’t have one already, then your first port of call will be to register for an apprenticeship service account.

You’re probably thinking, ‘what on earth is an apprenticeship service account?’. Well, it’s something you’ll NEED to set up before you can even think about hiring an apprentice.

The good news is, it’s very straight forward to create and won’t take up too much time. The account sets up your business to receive the necessary funding to pay for apprenticeship training (the training provider) and any assessment costs linked with this.

Further information will be needed to set up your apprenticeship service account so it’s advisable to put some time aside to watch this handy video as a ‘How To’ guide:

Find an apprenticeship training provider

As you begin this journey, you will need to find a training provider who will guide you every step of the way. Think of them as your right-hand helper.

Finding the right training provider is important; taking into consideration the desired skill set you’re looking for and location. has an easy-to-use directory where you can find the best local apprenticeship training provider for your specialism and business.

Or go with a specialist you can trust. For example, if the biggest concern in your company is focusing on the skills gap for a gas and heating business, then contact us. We’re a quality assured apprenticeship training provider based in Nottingham who provide excellent training in state-of-the-art facilities – we may just be the perfect fit.

10 steps to hiring an apprentice

So, what are the next steps?

Step 1: Decide what skills you’re looking for in an apprentice

This may seem obvious, but it’s key to consider the trade skills you believe are most lacking in your business. At the end of it, you don’t want to be doubling up on skills your workforce already has and leave a gap in skills that could have been filled.

Jot down the skills that you’re seeking in an apprentice, including essential and desirable skills, which will help your business grow. Don’t just live in the now, think about what skills you may need in the future too.

In preparation to get your job vacancy live, you will need to fill in ‘The Apprenticeship Vacancy Template’ with full details of the job role.

You should include:

  • Job Title
  • Main responsibilities and key duties
  • What will be expected of the role
  • Location
  • Information about your company

Make sure your transparent and honest with the advert, this will attract like-minded individuals to apply for the role.

Step 2: Consider your cost limits and set a budget

This is a crucial step. It’s widely known that the cost of hiring an apprentice is much lower and can be extremely cost effective for your business, but you still need to make sure it’s realistic for your company.

The national minimum wage currently is £4.30 but it’s worth being mindful that this is reviewed every April and can be subject to change.

Or why not try out this easy apprentice cost calculator to work out the costings you could expect?

Step 3: Advertise your apprenticeship vacancy

Gone are the days when word of mouth would suffice, you need to ensure you’re following the right guidelines for your advertisement, keeping mindful of the equal opportunities act and any other relevant guidelines.

Don’t panic, this may seem intimidating, but this is where your training provider can step in!

Just like the help and support The Apprenticeship Academy provide to all their intakes; your designated apprenticeship training provider will be able to assist you with this entire process.

There are dedicated apprenticeship websites for you to advertise your vacancy, with thousands of future apprentices looking for the right opportunity. Check in with your training provider to make sure you’ve covered all the main points and you should be good to go!

You can use GOV’s apprenticeship vacancy platform to post your ad or any similar providers.

Step 4: Review your applications

The apprenticeship website you’ve chosen to advertise your opening will be able to provide information for the advert you’ve posted. These websites will gather all applications submitted and present the candidates skills and experience so it’s easier to review.

Before hiring an Apprentice, you must check that they meet the following checklist. Your Apprentice must be:

  • 16 years old or older;
  • Out of full-time education;
  • Live in England or the country where your company is based;
  • Have the right to work in England or the country where the company is based;
  • Spend at least 50 per cent of their working hours in England or the country where your company is based.

If you’ve been using other websites to advertise, just remember to bring all this information together so you have the clearest understanding of the collective data.

Don’t forget to continue the communication with your training provider also (they’re here to lend a helping hand so utilise them as much as possible) to ensure it’s fair and consistent.

Step 5: Shortlist your applications

We know what you might be thinking, ‘What if I get hundreds of applications, how am I going to get through them all?’

If your advert has been a success, it can quite daunting, as well as exciting, to see the large number of candidates that apply for the role.

But you don’t have to take on this feat alone. Speak to your apprenticeship training provider and ask them to sift through the initial applications, this will free up valuable time for yourself and they’ll be able to apply a fair and consistent criterion to all applications throughout.

There’s nothing stopping you from doing this selection process, but it’s important to MAKE sure you:

  • Set a good amount of time aside to properly look through the applications, don’t just skim forms as this could mean vital information is missed
  • Include at least one more individual to help you shortlist to avoid potential bias
  • Finally, and the most important of all, make sure your evaluation is fair and consistent – don’t discriminate

Step 6: Decide who to interview

Congrats, you’ve got your shortlist! You’re now ready to invite those selected candidates for an interview.

It’s important at this stage to enquire about previous employment, this is key for getting those all-important references to check dependability and background.

The invitation for the interview can either be sent out directly from you or the training provider, whichever is most comfortable. The invitation needs to include for the candidate:

  • Where will the interview take place?
  • When will it be?
  • What will the candidate need to bring with them?
  • What is the interview process?
  • Are there any special requirements?

The last point is crucial to be included so you can ensure you’re continuing to follow a fair and consistent process. However, your training provider will be able to guide you through this.

Step 7: Prepare for the interviews

The more preparation you put into the interview process, the better results you’ll achieve and the better candidates you’re likely to get.

Map out how you envision the interview process to go. Would you prefer a more traditional question and answer interview? Or a more interactive approach to include activities and tasks?

Whichever method fits the bill, and you believe will give you the greatest insight into the candidate’s abilities, plan the process and stick to it for all applicants you interview.

As you’ll probably be aware by now, you must keep best practice in mind. In this instance, it would be advisable for two or more people to interview the candidates to avoid any doubts of bias.

Your training provider will be equipped to offer any advice needed on the process, they’ll have countless hints and tips to help you.

Step 8: Carry out the interview

The time for the interview is finally here. All your hard and work preparation has led you one step closer to finding your ideal candidate.

Don’t forget the most important message – first impressions count.

From the very moment they walk through the doors of your company or assessment centre, the candidate will be forming judgements so it’s important your approach is just as professional and friendly as you would expect theirs to be.

Step 9: How to select and hire an apprentice

Now is the most exciting part, selecting your apprentice!

Gather all the information you’ve collected throughout the interview process and analyse which candidate you believe would be most suitable for the role.

Take everything into account, from the initial application, all the way through to the interview to ensure you’re comfortable with the decision you’ve made.

Once you’re happy with your decision, liaise with your apprentice provider so they can be involved with the process and they’re aware that you’ve reached a verdict.

You’re now ready to let the successful candidate know the good news!

It’s best to give the candidate a ring to let them know and follow up with a job acceptance email, laying out the full details of the job role and what it will entail.

You can now discuss with your training provider all the essential details around start dates and the enrolment process.

Important: You need to advise unsuccessful candidates as soon as possible and provide feedback. Accurate records of the interview process will need to be kept in case these are called upon in the future.

Step 10: Creating the Apprenticeship Agreement

It is important you have an apprenticeship agreement in place between you, as the employer, and the apprentice.

The agreement MUST state: the apprentice will be undertaking an apprenticeship in a particular skill, trade or occupation and can be used to reinforce the understanding of the requirements of the apprenticeship.

This agreement is to protect both you and the apprentice, so it needs to be a high priority.

The ASCLA introduced this as a requirement for an apprentice to have an apprenticeship agreement in place as part of the standard completion conditions for an apprenticeship.

Remember, as always, your training provider is on hand to help out. They will be able to assist you with this and some may even be able to provide the agreement for you so it’s worth an ask.

You can download an apprenticeship agreement here.

How to access Apprenticeship Funding

Apprenticeship funding is at an all-time high so there’s no better time to hire an apprentice than the present!

The incentives are too good to turn down.

Up until the 30th of September 2021, you could receive up to £4,000 for hiring an apprentice so you need to act quick!

Right now, you could claim a grant of £3,000 for an apprentice of any age. This extra incentive will end on 31st January 2022.

What’s better? This is on top of the existing £1,000 payment for all new 16-18 year old apprentices, as well as those under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan, where that applies.

If you’re a gas or heating company in the East Midlands – whether that’s in Nottingham, Mansfield, Northampton and Leicester, or Lincoln, Derby and Chesterfield, then the team over at The Apprenticeship Academy is on standby to help you take full advantage of the grant on offer. Get in touch with us today.

For all other apprenticeship training, you can apply to secure the benefits here.

The extra incentives are ending soon so make sure you don’t miss out!

So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with us

You’re now ready to make the leap and hire an apprentice. There’s no time like the present!

For any further information around our apprenticeship training academy, further details around the hiring process or general questions then please do get in touch.

Fill in the form on our contact us page and one of our helpful advisors will be in touch to help get you on your way to a perfect apprentice match.

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