Written on: 5 January 2022
Written by: Megan Hussey
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Investing in apprenticeships is an exciting option for organisations looking to futureproof their workforce.
As an apprenticeship is a formal scheme for work-based training, with unique rules and features, it can be difficult for employers to differentiate between the employment rights for an apprentice compared to their existing employees.
From wages to sick pay, there are many areas that you may feel you need clarification on. To provide guidance when it comes to writing the apprentice's employment contact, we've created this handy article that outlines your apprentice's rights in many key areas.
Read More: How to Support Your Apprentice - The Ultimate Guide for Managers
An apprentice holds the same employment rights as every other employee in your organisation. You must provide your apprentice with a contract of employment, and this must cover the duration of their apprenticeship, including the End Point Assessment period.
In addition to an employment contract, you and your new apprentice should also sign an Apprenticeship Agreement before the programme starts. This document will identify what Apprenticeship Standard the learner will be enrolled on, the start and end date of the apprenticeship and the number of off-the-job hours that the apprentice will undertake.
An apprentice must be working in a job role relevant to their apprenticeship programme as they must be able to evidence the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for the apprenticeship standard.
An apprenticeship is an earn while you learn opportunity, so you must ensure that your apprentice is able to develop new skills and collect valid evidence to pass their apprenticeship to the highest possible standard.
While you may start your apprentice out on small and simple tasks as they find their feet, with the right training and support they’ll soon be ready to dive into more complex projects, transform theory into action, and add real value to your team.
Read More: What Responsibilities Can an Apprentice Take On?
The UK Government run numerous schemes to support employers with the cost of apprenticeships, but does the government pay apprenticeship wages?
Unfortunately, no! Like any other employee, the apprenticeship contract is between yourself and the learner. This means you are responsible for paying them their salary.
However, there may be additional regional funding available to contribute towards your training and employment costs, and you’ll soon find that the value an apprentice adds to your business far outweighs the initial salary investment.
As of April 2022, the minimum wage for an apprentice currently stands at £4.81 an hour. For apprentices aged 19 and over, the minimum wage rises after one year of training to the national minimum wage for their age group.
At Baltic, we encourage our employers to pay their apprentices above minimum wage as this can help learners feel valued and may increase their loyalty towards your organisation - It's no secret that staff who feel rewarded are more likely to stick around long-term!
An apprenticeship is a full-time position with a built-in training element. Therefore, an apprentice is usually employed on a full-time basis, not exceeding a 40 hour working week.
Unlike other employees, an apprentice will need to step away from their daily duties to take part in the training element of their programme.
Apprentices must be paid for time spent completing their training.
Depending on the training provider you choose, this training could be away from the office in a physical classroom or delivered remotely through online training platforms.
At Baltic, we deliver the majority of our training through our virtual SMART Classroom. This is an online platform that blends teaching with technology and has features such as presentation rooms, live chat, polls, interactive whiteboards and breakout rooms.
Just like other members of your team, an apprentice is entitled to paid annual leave. Their holiday entitlement must be for a minimum of 20 days per year, plus bank holidays. Although it's always nice to offer more holidays than their minimum entitlement!
Apprentices must also be offered the same conditions as other employees of a similar role or tenure when it comes to sick pay.
A fixed number of an apprentice's working hours should be spent completing off the job training which is relevant to the Apprenticeship Standard. This varies depending on the programme, but this works out at approximately 6 hours per week.
At Baltic, we schedule the majority of this through our technical training modules, workplace projects, and personal support. The remaining off-the-job training should be provided by an employer through shadowing, mentoring, independent study and any other relevant training.
If you offer company benefits such as childcare vouchers, a reward scheme, or employee support service, these should also be made available to your apprentice.
If you have decided now is the right time to grow and develop your team through apprenticeships, check out our range of specialist tech and digital programmes, or get in touch with our friendly team to learn more about our apprentice recruitment process.
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