Apprentice FAQs

An apprenticeship can seem complicated at first. We've put together some of the most frequently asked questions for your convenience.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE APPRENTICESHIP?

If agreed with the employer you may be taken on as a full-time member of staff, 95% of our apprentices do! However if you are not successful in securing your own placement, depending on your area, we can pass your details onto our sister company (Baltic Recruitment) who may be able to help find the ideal role for you.

WHY CHOOSE A BALTIC TRAINING IT APPRENTICESHIP?

Baltic delivers a tech driven training service that can be trusted. A service that employers and apprentices can rely on every step of the way. But Baltic aren’t just dependable, we’re heroic.

Always there when we’re needed, we do the heavy lifting for the business and we guide and support, perhaps sometimes even rescue, our apprentices.

All in the name of a unique brand of alchemy: transforming negatives into positives, changing fear into confidence, and ultimately, changing lives.

HOW WILL I LEARN?

Your employer will provide you with on-the-job training, mentoring and support throughout your apprenticeship. The rest of your training will be delivered by Baltic Training. Your training will be delivered via SMART Classroom in 5-day sessions away from your employer. These arrangements will be discussed with you and your employer in your induction.

WHAT QUALIFICATION WILL I GET?

There are 3 types of apprenticeship offered by Baltic Training:

  • Intermediate Level Apprenticeship (level 2)
  • Advanced Level Apprenticeship (level 3)
  • Higher Level Apprenticeship (level 4)

All apprenticeships are made up of three key elements:

  • A diploma in your chosen subject
  • A technical certificate in your chosen subject
  • Functional skills certificates (level dependent on apprenticeship and current grades)

WILL I GET A JOB?

Our apprenticeships are delivered in partnership with real employers, who will work with you for the entirety of the apprenticeship. 95% of our apprentices progress onto full-time employment with their employer after their apprenticeship has finished.

HOW WILL I BE PAID?

Your contract of employment will be with the employer and not Baltic Training Services, and you will be paid directly from the employer subject to the terms of your contract.

WHAT IS THE APPRENTICE WAGE?

The National Minimum Wage for apprentices is currently £3.70 per hour (from the 1st of April 2018). Your exact wage will depend on the vacancy you apply for and will be at the employer’s discretion.

HOW LONG WILL THE APPRENTICESHIP LAST?

An Intermediate level 2 apprenticeship typically last 15-16 weeks, an Advanced level 3 apprenticeship typically lasts 12 months and a higher level 4 apprenticeship typically lasts 15-18 months.

WHAT IS AN APPRENTICESHIP?

Apprenticeships are government funded programmes aimed at anyone over 16 looking to gain a real job with training. Apprenticeships provide a great opportunity to kick start a long-term career in your chosen subject. You will be placed with an employer from day one, who will provide you with on-the-job training and valuable work experience. Your apprenticeship training will be delivered by Baltic Training and scheduled around your work commitments with your employer.

Employer FAQs

If you're ready to recruit an apprentice or simply have any further questions, don't hesitate to get in touch! See what our happy clients say with your employer's apprenticeship case studies.
WHAT OTHER TRAINING OR SESSIONS ARE REQUIRED?

Our IT apprenticeships require the apprentice to complete 2-3 one day assessment sessions, a choice of delivery location should be chosen by the employer whilst completing the due diligence. The choices are location based per our available key locations or SMART Classroom session.

Functional skills tests are completed ONLY in our key locations and if you have chosen an apprenticeship standard your apprentice will be subject to exams which can ONLY be completed in our key locations or one of our mandatory external exam centres Pearson Vue and PeopleCert.

WHAT IS A WORKTRIAL?

A work trial should only last 1-2 days. this is enough time or the apprentice to get a feel for the business, and for you to make sure the apprentice fits into the business and culture.

Whilst on trial, we want the apprentice to get a feel for the job they will be doing and the team they will be working with. This should include:

  • Sitting with their mentor
  • Job shadowing the team
  • Work on one of their duties listed on the job description

HOW WILL BALTIC TRAINING SUPPORT MY APPRENTICE? AND HOW WILL THEIR PROGRESS BE REVIEWED?

Your apprentice will be allocated an assessor who will act as a mentor/coach throughout the duration of the programme. They will make regular contact with your apprentice via email, telephone and via SMART Classroom.

This contact will be in the form of support sessions and progress reviews. (Reviews will be scheduled every 8 weeks throughout the apprentices time on programme).

These support sessions will discuss progress, provide feedback and outline any work the apprentice needs to complete before the next scheduled contact. For our Level 3 apprentices, support and review sessions will be scheduled monthly, and for our Level 4 apprentices, they are scheduled bi-monthly.

WHAT IS THE TYPICAL APPRENTICE LIKE?

As part of our selection process we are looking for bright, determined and driven young people with a good attitude and a willingness to work hard and progress into a sustainable career within tech.

All of our apprentices have a passion for their chosen field, have a track record of good attendance, reliability and working with others. They are keen to learn new skills and gain employment with you.

HOW DOES THE FUNDING WORK?

The government is committed to delivering prosperity for the future, and developing our nation in the skills of tomorrow is absolutely crucial to this plan.

Last year the government announced their vision to improve the quality of apprenticeships in England ensuring they met employers’ requirements for skills and set a target of 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020. The aim is to ensure that employers take responsibility in creating opportunities for our future generation and addressing the skills shortage.

The system is designed to boost the economy, create and develop a more technically-skilled workforce and ensure that large employers invest in learning and development for their employees. It will enable more people to progress into more senior, technically-challenging job roles.

Employers will send data to HMRC from the 6th of April and then the new system will kick in from the 1st of May. From the 1st of May 2017, some employers will be required to pay for apprenticeships either through the apprenticeship levy pay bill tax or through a co-investment cash contribution.

Read the full Governments Vision for Apprenticeships by 2020 here.

Existing apprenticeship frameworks will be phased out between now and 2020, and the government is due to announce further employer guidance on how to calculate and pay the apprenticeship levy. Please see our apprenticeship levy news update for further information.

WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATION EQUIVALENTS?

Level 3 apprenticeships are equivalent to A-Level or HNC. However, apprentices will gain a wealth of experience and skills.

Level 4 apprenticeships are equivalent to Foundation Degree or HND.

Depending on the programme, your apprentice can also achieve CompTia A+, Network +, Windows 10 MCP/MCSA (Microsoft Certified Professional/Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator), Windows Server 2012 MCP.

WHAT MAKES OUR PROGRAMMES UNIQUE?

Baltic Training Services is a private training provider committed to quality, customer excellence and making a real difference to society. We are a trusted and positive organisation, partnering with employers to create apprenticeship opportunities within the digital sector.

Our mission is to be the premier provider of IT & Digital Training services in the UK. Our aim is to ensure that the training we deliver equips our learners to excel in work, education and everyday life.

We use our expertise to develop and deliver world-class training programmes supported with digital courseware and virtual labs to ensure the most immersive, hands-on learning experience. From this, organisations can build on their digital competency and capability, enabling future growth. Our range of flexible delivery methodologies provides a unique approach that sets us apart from all other training providers.

At Baltic we are committed to changing lives by supporting businesses and empowering individuals to thrive in the digital world, using the evolution of technology to drive innovation.

WHAT SUPPORT DOES THE APPRENTICE NEED?

Provide a ‘buddy’ for each apprentice. A buddy is a person within the workplace who works closely with the apprentice. Responsibilities of the buddy may include:

  • Informational resource on policies, procedures, work rules, norms – basically how things are done.
  • Help socialise and build networks.
  • Provide information.
  • Assist with on the job training.
  • Be a tour guide.
  • Check the apprentice’s work.
  • Identify resources that may be of use.
  • Provide introductions.
  • Monitor the apprentice’s progress, attitude, timekeeping and feed back to Baltic Training Services.

For the majority of apprentices joining the business, this is the first time they have been in a work environment. Apprentices will require additional support and training from their immediate colleagues as well as ongoing feedback.

It is important to ensure the apprentices understand what is expected of them. Apprentices will lack the experience and confidence to manage themselves and their workload and therefore will need to be given targets and timeframes to work towards. If there are issues with the quality of an apprentice’s work, their attitude or behaviour, this needs to be addressed early on.

Please ensure feedback is communicated to the apprentice straight away. Sometimes the cause of an issue is purely a lack of understanding on the apprentice’s part or a breakdown in communication. I.e. The apprentice does not have the confidence to admit when they do not understand something and therefore does not complete the task they were assigned.

In the event that the apprentice does not improve, we have a dedicated customer relations team that you can contact at any time for advice and support. We are here to support the apprentices transition into the workplace and will be available, to address any if required.

WHAT’S INVOLVED WITH THE TRAINING AND HOW LONG ARE THE APPRENTICES OUT OF THE BUSINESS?

Training is delivered in a block release, the apprentice will be required to attend up to 5 weeks of technical training. Courses typically occur every 6-8 weeks, and course dates are flexible as the course schedule is agreed with your dedicated apprenticeship co-ordinator.

Our apprenticeships are delivered via a SMART Classroom which enhances the learning experience. Your apprentice can attend and complete the course without ever leaving the office, reducing travel and accommodation costs.

Recent studies and experience have demonstrated that course delivery via a virtual classroom supports a much more focused approach to learning through a simultaneous independent and collaborative education experience. SMART Classroom delivery has boosted apprenticeship achievement outcomes and increased learner satisfaction and productivity.

Our training team of technical specialists deliver every course to an exceptional standard and provide support, guidance and tuition to your apprentice.

By partnering with us as your training provider your apprentice will start attending courses, learning and adding value to your business straight away.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECRUIT AN APPRENTICE?

Baltic will always operate in the shortest time frame possible. Depending on your requirements, the process can take anywhere between 1 and 8 weeks.

WHERE ARE THE CANDIDATES SOURCED FROM?

We have a pool of the best and brightest young people in every region. All of our apprenticeship vacancies are advertised on national and local jobs boards, on the national apprenticeship website and on specialist apprenticeship job boards. We also promote heavily on all social media channels, including the local press, and we work with schools and referral agencies, attending relevant events all year round. At Baltic we also encourage and reward people for friends and family referrals, as we have found young people to be exceptional networkers and quite often will refer their friends.

If you have someone in mind, get in touch to find out if they are eligible for one of our apprenticeships.

WHAT EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE DO THE APPRENTICES HAVE?

In taking on an apprentice you are committing to a 12 month programme where you will be required to provide on-the-job training, mentoring and coaching to your apprentice. In addition to this, the apprentice attends technical training courses delivered by Baltic. There are some exceptionally bright and talented young people out there, for whom going to university may not be an option. In most cases the apprentices will not have worked before and will have limited skills and experience, however, with the right support and training, apprentices can learn extremely quickly and work independently, making a contribution to your business within a relatively short space of time.

Our recruitment process is extremely thorough, and the team at Baltic ensure that we find individuals with a passion for technology, a thirst for knowledge, a great attitude and genuinely want an opportunity to be a part of your business.

Read our employer’s apprenticeship case studies to learn about our partner employers who have been delighted with the benefits an apprentice has brought to their business.

WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END OF THE PROGRAMME?

94% of our apprentices are taken on full time on completion of their apprenticeship. We ensure our programmes and training deliver long-term benefits for our partners and their apprentices. We provide every apprentice with the opportunity to excel in work and education. Employers also have the option to progress their apprentice onto a level 4 higher apprenticeship.

If you are not in a position to offer your apprentice a permanent role at the end of their apprenticeship programme, you are not under any obligation to take them on. However, we insist that this is fed back to us to enable us to support that apprentice in into employment elsewhere.

HOW LONG DOES THE APPRENTICESHIP LAST?

A level 3 advanced apprenticeship will last between 12-15 months; the level 4 higher apprenticeships will last between 15-18 months.

Read about our apprenticeship programmes here.

HOW MUCH DOES RECRUITING AN APPRENTICE COST FOR AN EMPLOYER?

The government is committed to delivering prosperity for the future, and developing our nation in the skills of tomorrow is absolutely crucial to this plan.

Last year the government announced their vision to improve the quality of apprenticeships in England ensuring they met employers’ requirements for skills and set a target of 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020. The aim is to ensure that employers take responsibility in creating opportunities for our future generation and addressing the skills shortage.

The system is designed to boost the economy, create and develop a more technically-skilled workforce and ensure that large employers invest in learning and development for their employees. It will enable more people to progress into more senior, technically-challenging job roles.

Employers will send data to HMRC from the 6th of April and then the new system will kick in from the 1st of May. From the 1st of May 2017, some employers will be required to pay for apprenticeships either through the apprenticeship levy pay bill tax or through a co-investment cash contribution.

Read the full Governments Vision for Apprenticeships by 2020 here.

Existing apprenticeship frameworks will be phased out between now and 2020, and the government is due to announce further employer guidance on how to calculate and pay the apprenticeship levy. Please see our apprenticeship levy news update for further information.

In addition to this there is the apprentice’s salary. The minimum apprentice salary has been set by the government at £3.70 per hour. Baltic Training services would recommend that you start your apprentice on a minimum of £150 per week. There are no recruitment costs or training costs, unless your apprentice has turned 19 before the start of their apprenticeship. If your apprentice is aged 19 years or older, you would be required to make a contribution towards their training costs.

Apprenticeship Levy FAQs

Not sure how the Levy will work for you? Here are some frequently asked questions that may help. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions.
HOW WILL THE LEVY AFFECT ME?

Category 1

Do you have less than 50 employees and a salary bill of less than £3 million?

  • You won’t make any contribution to the apprenticeship levy
  • All training for 16-18 year olds will be fully funded by the government
  • For apprentices ages 19+ the government will contribute 95% of your training costs, you will contribute the final 5%
  • Funding can be used to develop the skills of your current employees(including graduates), or to recruit apprentices
  • You will receive a government incentive of £1000 for recruiting an apprentice aged 16-18
  • Any member of staff under the age of 25 who is enrolled on an apprenticeship programme will not be subject to national insurance contributions

 

Category 2

Do you have more than 50 employees and a salary bill of less than £3 million?

  • The government will contribute 95% of your training costs, you will contribute the final 5%
  • Payment is to be made upfront
  • Funding can be used to train up existing staff (including graduates), or to recruit apprentices of any age
  • You will receive a government incentive of £1000 for recruiting an apprentice aged 16-18
  • Any member of staff under the age of 25 who is enrolled on an apprenticeship programme will not be subject to national insurance contributions

 

Category 3

Do you have a salary bill of more than £3 million?

  • You will contribute 0.5% of anything over £3 Million from your salary bill into the apprenticeship levy
  • The 0.5% will be paid through a payroll tax
  • Funding can be used to train up existing staff (including graduates), or to recruit apprentices of any age
  • You can access your funds through an online digital account
  • These funds will expire after 24 months
  • You will receive a government incentive of £1000 for recruiting an apprentice aged 16-18
  • For every £1 that enters your digital account you will get £1.10 to spend through a 10% top-up from the government
  • Any member of staff under the age of 25 who is enrolled on an apprenticeship programme will not be subject to national insurance contributions
  • Should your apprenticeship levy funds run out, you will be required to pay 5% of the training costs

HOW DOES THE LEVY WORK?

There is an allowance of £15,000 that reduces the amount of levy that companies have to pay over a year. This means that the levy only applies to anything over £3 Million from your pay bill. The levy is a monthly deduction, so in reality, these costs will be taken in any month where your pay bill is over £250,000.

Earnings in scope for the levy include any remuneration or profit coming from employment of all staff (including directors), such as wages, bonuses, commissions, and pension contributions.

The amount of funding you receive in your account to spend on apprenticeships will depend on how many of your employees live in England and the proportion of your pay bill paid to these employees.

The levy is a devolved policy, so if you have operations based in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, the funding that you contribute for these employees will be worked out by the apprenticeship authorities in these areas. You will not be able to access these funds in your apprenticeship service account.

Employers who pay the levy and are committed to apprenticeship training will get more out than they pay in to the levy and will be entitled to a 10% government top-up to monthly funds.

HOW DO I WORK OUT MUCH I NEED TO PAY?

Example – employer of 250 employees (all based in England) with an annual salary bill of £5,000,000:

£15,000 allowance means that levy entry point = £3,000,000

Therefore, Levy is payable on £2,000,000 of salary bill

0.5% of £2,000,000 = £10,000 annual levy payment

+ 10% Government Top-Up of £1000

Total annual levy funds available to spend = £11,000

You can use this tool to estimate your own levy funding.

HOW IS THE MONEY PAID?

  1. Your payroll department will calculate, report and pay your levy to HMRC, through the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) process alongside Income Tax and National Insurance from April 2017.
  2. Single employers with multiple PAYE schemes will be added together in levy calculations.
  3. Groups of connected employers who pay the levy together can pool funds.
  4. Your levy payments will be recorded on the Apprenticeship Service website where you can access your account at any time.

WHAT CAN LEVY FUNDS BE SPENT ON?

Funds can only be used for:

  • Apprenticeship training and assessment with an approved training and assessment provider.
  • Apprenticeship standards are not just for entry level positions within your business. Your levy payments can be used to fund education and training for your existing workforce at all levels within your organisation.

HOW DO I ACCESS MY FUNDS?

To access the funds that you have paid into the apprenticeship levy, as well as the 10% top up provided by the government, you will need to have an apprenticeship service account.

HOW DOES THE DIGITAL ACCOUNT WORK?

The apprenticeship service is an online digital system (similar to online banking) that has been set up to support the apprenticeship levy. The online service will allow you to financially manage your apprenticeship programmes and help you to estimate your financial spend.

You can see funds appear in your digital account monthly, a few working days after you have confirmed your salary bill and levy contribution to HRMC for the previous month. You can then use the account to set up apprenticeships and authorise payments to training providers.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I SPEND ALL OF MY LEVY FUNDS?

If you run out of levy funds, the remaining training costs for that month will come out of the ‘co-investment’ model. This means that any remaining costs that can’t be covered by what is in your apprenticeship service account will be paid for 95% by the government, and you will need to cover the remaining 5%.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T USE MY LEVY FUNDS?

Levy funds expire 24 months after they enter your account unless you spend them on apprenticeship training. Levy spend will be applied on a first in, first out basis and applies to any government top-ups in your digital account.

For example, if you started paying into the levy in April 2017, and you haven’t spent any of the funds, they will start to expire on a rolling monthly basis starting from April 2019.

CAN I ACCESS MY PARTNER COMPANY’S FUNDS?

It is now possible to transfer up to 25% of your annual levy funds to another employer in your supply chain. Levy funds expire 24 months after entering the digital account, so the introduction of the funding transfers will ensure that more businesses can benefit from the levy funding. Funds transferred to another employer can only be used for apprenticeship standards, not apprenticeship frameworks.

Everything you need to know...

Whether you are an apprentice, employer, school or parent, our ebooks and tools are designed to give you all the information that you will need.
Apprentice Ebook:

An Introduction to Your Baltic Apprenticeship

Employer Ebook:

Your Guide to the Apprenticeship Levy