Apprenticeships are employer and government creation led work-based programmes, designed for industry-specific roles. They are available for people aged 16 and over; there is no restriction on the upper age limit, as long as the person enrolled is employed in an actual job. The apprentice may be an existing employee that requires further training, or a new hire: they should be employed within a suitable job role for a minimum of 30 hours per week and must spend at least 20% of their contracted working hours on off-the-job training. Apprenticeships incorporate qualifications from Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) to Level 7 (Masters equivalent)

  • Apprentices must be UK or EU citizens, anyone originally from outside the EU would have to be resident in England for a minimum of 3 years before the apprenticeship starts
  • All apprentices must be employed before the start of their programme and ideally for a minimum of 30 hours per week
  • Apprentices must not be enrolled to any other full time course of study (such as with their local college or another training provider)
  • The apprentice and employer must sign various agreements and commitment statements (as a legal requirement)
  • The apprentice must be directly employed by the employer
  • The employer may need to pay training fees
  • Have ‘Right to Work’ in the UK



The Government introduced the Apprenticeship levy on the 6th April 2017. It required all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3 million each year, to invest in apprenticeships. The Government have committed to 3 million new Apprenticeships by 2020, spending £2.5bn to transform the country’s investment in skills and people. The Apprenticeship levy will put the funding of Apprenticeships on a sustainable long-term footing. It has long been recognised that apprenticeships boost the skills of the workforce and help to increase economic productivity, providing young people with their first step on the employment ladder as well as giving those already in work the opportunity to progress further, enhancing their skills and knowledge. Levy funds will expire 24 months after they enter your Digital account, unless you spend them on apprenticeship training with a training provider. Whenever a payment is taken from your Digital account, the service automatically uses the funds that entered your account first. This will minimise the amount of expired funds.


Employers who are not connected to another company or charity will have an Apprenticeship Levy allowance of £15,000 each year. The allowance reduces the amount of Apprenticeship Levy you have to pay by £15,000 across the year. This means that only employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million will pay the levy at a rate of 0.5% of the annual payroll bill above £3million. You cannot carry over any unused allowance into the next tax year. Connected companies or charities will only have one £15,000 allowance to share between them. If you start or stop being an employer part way through the tax year you can use your full annual Apprenticeship Levy allowance against the amount of the levy that you owe.


You will need to pay the Apprenticeship Levy each month through the PAYE process in the same way you pay Income Tax or National Insurance contributions. If you have overpaid Apprenticeship Levy during the year, you will receive a refund as a PAYE credit. Apprenticeship Levy payments are a deductible expense for Corporation Tax.


The Gi Group Apprenticeship Team can provide information, guidance and practical support including:

  • Providing information about The Apprenticeship Levy
  • Providing guidance about working with Ofsted and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA)
  • Designing and delivering a client bespoke Apprenticeship Programme to meet commercial needs
  • Taking over an existing Apprenticeship Programme
  • Producing detailed financial, performance and target reports and analysis


With more and more businesses seeing the benefits of Apprenticeships, and reports showing an increase in the number of employers that would prefer to hire someone who has completed an Apprenticeship over someone with a university degree. It is clear that many businesses are already taking advantage of Apprenticeships. Find below the benefits of taking Apprentices onboard:

Your business may have skills gaps or require new skills to help your business grow. By highlighting a skills gap within your team you can help your business plan for staff CPD and upskilling or even the recruiting of an Apprentice.

Knowing how to engage with your management team on skills gaps is critical. Apprenticeships are one way to match available talent with the specific skills they need. It enables your business to grow your talent pipeline for the future.

Apprentices can also help to boost the appeal of the industry among their peers and colleagues. This, in turn, helps business recognise the fact that some knowledgeable individuals that choose not to go to university and look towards a more practical route into the workplace.

It is recognised, and often publicised that often the only way to really eliminate large-scale skills shortages is to open up industries to a broader pool of talent and this includes tapping into talent pools that you may not have previously considered – low-skilled, young, not from the industry, females, those with additional needs, ex-offenders etc.

Apprenticeships used to be thought of as only being for young talent. Large companies like Barclays, The Co-operative Group and Boots are all recruiting for mature employees and publicly pledging their commitment to a more diverse workforce. To keep on the cutting edge, you may want to do the same whilst having a structured learning and development programme to support this.

Having Apprentices enable your business to progress, develop and innovate – fresh mind = fresh thinking! Apprentices will be able to complete some quite complex projects within months of starting that push not only their newly acquired skills but also encourage their ability to problem solve. Apprentices offer ideas and want to do so. They join your business with fresh eyes, and will pick out issues and resolutions that might have eluded your team.

Apprentices make a real difference to working environments – they want to join your industry, and as they learn and develop with their qualification, we have seen them bring in a wealth of pioneering ideas and trends – so your whole team will end up learning something new.

Apprenticeship data shows that businesses that have an Apprenticeship programme running have higher staff retention rates and staff commitment levels. Apprentices infuse new energy into teams and help create a more approachable environment.

National Apprenticeship Service data shows 80% of companies who invest in Apprentices have reported a significant increase in employee retention. More than half (57%) of employers report a high proportion of their Apprentices going on to management positions.

More than three-quarters (76%) of employers who employ Apprentices agree they make their workplace more productive, according to data compiled by the National Apprenticeship Service. A typical Apprentice delivers productivity gains of over £10,000 annually.

Apprenticeships are also an effective way to upskill your existing workforce. Enrolling your employees on to relevant Apprenticeships such as Business Administration, Customer Service, Management and Team leadership and other sector-specific Apprenticeships will enable them to gain accredited qualifications and develop role-related skills and knowledge relevant to your organisation.

According to the National Apprenticeship Service survey, 72% of businesses report improved productivity as a result of Apprenticeships, and 77% of businesses agree that Apprenticeships make their workplace more productive.

Unlike closing a skills gap, future proofing your workforce by setting out a long-term business plan and KPI’s surrounding your training and development plans. Doing so will mean that skills gaps will become a thing of the past as your business will have in place processes to highlight, investigate and improve for new areas of skills required.

Brand image is essential, especially if your business is customer facing, it can make the difference between a customer picking to use your supply or going to one of your competitors.

From a reputational point of view, being seen to take on local talent and help boost youth employment in the area can help to raise the profile of the business, while also contributing in a tangible way to the local economy.

If you have a payroll of £3m or more, you will be making levy payments via your digital account. Employers have been given 18 months to spend each payment, before losing those funds – and the opportunity for the 10 per cent government top-up too.

If you are an employer with fewer than 50 employees, the Government will pay the full cost of training Apprentices aged 16 – 18. Apprenticeships. Find out more about Apprenticeship funding for non-levy paying employers.

For non-levy paying businesses (those with a pay bill of under £3 million per annum), 90% of training costs for Apprentices are Government funded via co-investment.


End Point Assessment (EPA) is the name given to a series of tests that apprentices must take to prove their ability to perform the job they have been training for. These tests take place at the end of an apprenticeship, following a period of training and development often referred to as the practical period. In some Standard-based apprenticeships the on-programme stage may include mandatory requirements, such as supporting qualifications. These must be achieved prior to applying for the EPA.

At this point the employer, after discussion with their apprentice and training provider, declares their apprentice as ready for EPA: this decision process is known as the gateway to End Point Assessment. EPA’s can only be taken a minimum of 12 months after the start of an apprentices training and must be successfully completed before an apprenticeship completion certificate can be issued.


Level 5 Operational Department Manager

Level 5 Operational Department Manager

Level 4 Associate Project Management

Level 4 Associate Project Management

Level 3 Business Administrator

Level 3 Business Administrator

Level 4 Sales Executive

Level 4 Sales Executive

Level 3 Team Leader / Supervisor

Level 3 Team Leader / Supervisor

Level 2 Recruitment Resourcer

Level 2 Recruitment Resourcer