Are you interested in taking on an apprentice but don’t know where to start?

Are you a levy paying employer considering taking on an apprentice but need advice on who is eligible? Then read on!

As an experienced HR and L&D apprenticeship provider, we know that many employers find the process of starting an apprentice scheme daunting.

As a result, we have put together a handy 10 point checklist to guide both you and your apprentice through the initial selection process and ensure your organisation makes the most of your apprenticeship levy.

Our experience of working with a wide range of large organisations as well as individual apprentices has given us a great insight into some of the pitfalls which can arise right at the start of an apprenticeship selection process.

Simply by following our step-by-step guide, you will make sure your apprenticeship programme gets off the ground without hitting any unexpected bumps and ultimately delivers the best possible results both for your organisation and your apprentice.

To find out more about Reed Learning’s HR and L&D Apprenticeship programmes please contact our specialist advisers on 020 7932 2760.

Ready to start? Click here to see if your apprentice is eligible...


1. Is your apprentice enrolled on another apprenticeship programme or currently studying at university or college?

Apprentices are not allowed to be enrolled on more than one programme at a time or studying for another state-funded qualification.

2. Can your apprentice enrol on an apprenticeship if they’ve already completed one?

There are some rules about levels but generally the answer is yes, provided the content is different to the previous apprenticeship and it can be clearly demonstrated that the knowledge, skills and behaviours included in the apprenticeship are directly relevant to the job role and future career progression.

3. Does your apprentice have a qualification at the same or higher level as the chosen apprenticeship programme?

An apprenticeship is all about showing development and learning new skills. If your apprentice already has a qualification at the same or higher level in a related subject then they will not be eligible to enrol onto the apprenticeship.

4. Does your apprentice have pass grades or equivalent in English and Maths?

Achieving the required level of English and Maths is a mandatory part of all apprenticeships and your apprentice will need to show their qualification certificates. Apprentices without grade A* to C (grade 4-9 in the new GCSE grading system) in their English and Maths GCSEs or equivalent will need to achieve Level 2 Functional Skills English and Maths before the end of their apprenticeship.

5. Will you be able to make sure your apprentice spends 20% on learning activities off-the-job?

The off-the-job training is a core requirement of all apprenticeship programmes but the good news for employers is that this can be delivered flexibly, for example as part of each day, one day per week, one week out of five or as block release. Off-the-job training can be at the apprentice’s usual place of work or at an external location. As long as it is directly relevant to the apprenticeship it can take place anywhere including at your apprentice’s desk or work station. (Link to 20% off the job training.)

6. Can you find opportunities for your apprentice to learn about other aspects of the business and its market?

Your apprentice’s line manager needs to be able to identify individuals within the organisation who can expose them to different areas of the business. Ideally, the manager should pave the way by providing contact details and or an introduction. Finding out how the overall business functions and the sector in which it operates as well as understanding its key aims and objectives are important aspects of any apprenticeship scheme.

7. Is there someone in the organisation who can commit to coaching your apprentice in new skills and experiences which are relevant to their role?

An apprenticeship is all about helping the apprentice gain knowledge and develop new skills. It is not just about allowing them to perform the usual tasks of their job. In an HR Level 3 Apprenticeship, for example, this might include allowing your apprentice to sit in on a recruitment interview or an employee disciplinary. An apprenticeship is about enabling exposure to things an apprentice can’t do to help them learn new skills which develop throughout the programme.

8. Will your apprentice’s line manager be able to commit to quarterly reviews and provide regular checks on progress?

An apprentice is treated slightly differently to other staff members in that they need to have time off-the-job and their progress needs to be mapped against the apprenticeship level standards. A commitment from the apprentice’s line manager is required for this to be achieved. (Download our Learner Journey guides (Levels 3, 5 and 7)

9. Is there someone in your organisation who will take responsibility for the Safeguarding and Prevent requirements of Apprenticeships?

Employers have a duty to comply with all current and future UK legislation and statutory responsibilities around Safeguarding and Prevent. There is a particular expectation that an employer should take responsibility for an apprentice’s welfare in the workplace and to seek appropriate advice when they feel an apprentice maybe at risk in their personal lives.

10. Do you have an understanding of apprenticeships overall and specifically the Levy?

It is Government policy to significantly increase the number of apprentices - all political parties are committed to this and significant public funding is being invested in the scheme. Employers with an annual salary bill of over £3 million are paying a 0.5% levy through PAYE to help fund apprenticeships. Organisations can use this levy to fund the delivery of apprenticeship training.

There are differences to apprenticeship funding for small and medium size companies. If your salary bill is less than £3 million, then your organisation could have 95% of its apprenticeship training costs paid. There is a 5% compulsory contribution to training costs.

Smaller businesses with fewer than 50 staff (depending on the age of the apprentice), will have 100% of the apprenticeship costs covered.

Want to know more about how to make the most of your apprenticeship levy to help you grow a talented, motivated and qualified workforce?

Please contact our specialist advisers on 020 7932 2760.