Changes in The World of Apprenticeships

Professional Apprenticeships is a Bristol-based apprenticeship provider, with Bristol’s economic and industrial success founded upon generations of budding apprenticeships. From the 17th century, potential carpenters, tailors, bakers, and cooperers would eagerly search for a 7 year professional training contract and a full-time job for life. In the 20th century West of England, apprentices worked at the cutting edge of aerospace engineering – constructing planes such as the Boxkite Biplane, Cold War bombers, and Concorde.

There’s no doubt that the UK is facing uncertain times. With Brexit and Corona Virus there’s a renewed focus on securing and retaining loyal employees. The landscape for apprenticeships is an everchanging one and more so than ever in the last three years. It, therefore, is no big surprise that many businesses struggle to keep up with all the changes surrounding apprenticeships. If I was not in the industry, I would certainly struggle myself.

The good news is that these changes are predominantly for the better, it is currently the best time ever to hire apprentices, with the quality of the courses and support being better than before.

We thought it would be helpful to put together a timeline of the key changes to apprenticeships to help you make sense of what they have become today.

April 2017: Apprenticeships became more inclusive

The government committed to ‘expand apprentice numbers to 3 million new starts by 2020’, this meant apprenticeships became more accessible than ever before. Long gone were the days where all apprentices were 16-18. With the age limit now at 65, this means almost everyone is eligible, from Uni graduates to existing staff. The main prerequisite is that they do not step back in level within the same subject. Apprenticeships have now become an extremely valuable and diverse training method, to upskill existing staff as well as new hires.

1st April 2019: Changes to contributions 

From the 1st April employers will only have to contribute 5% of apprenticeship training costs, compared to the previous 10% contribution. This means if a company is interested in taking on an apprentice or putting an existing member of staff through one, the government will fund between 95% and 100% of the training cost. If an apprentice is 16-18 then the course is fully funded with no contribution to training and if they are over that age, then they contribute 5% of the cost.

Cost examples on employee contribution:

Digital Marketing, a £550 contribution for an apprenticeship with a value of £11,000.

Team Leader, a £225 contribution for an apprenticeship with a value of £4,500

IT, Infrastructure Technician a £750 contribution for an apprenticeship with a value of £15,000.

1st August 2020: Apprenticeship Grants 

Any employer that hires an apprentice from the 1st August 2020, is eligible to access a government grant of £1,500 – £3000 per apprentice. Organisations will receive grants from the government as incentives for employing new apprentices; this will go a long way to tackle the rising amount of young people out of work.

16-18 years old (£3000) – Currently you can access a £1000 grant for taking on an apprentice that is aged between 16 and 18 years old. This grant is paid in two installments of £500. As of the 1st August you will get an additional £2000 for anyone of this age group, bringing the total up to £3000.

19-24 years old (£2000), anyone 25 and older (£1500) – A new grant of £2000 was announced by Rishi Sunac for any apprentices 19-24 years old that came into effect on the 1st August 2020. Anyone 25 or older still gets £1500 although they are still required to pay the 5% contribution to any apprentices training cost.

If you are a company that is growing or finding you are swamped with work, the apprenticeship programme can be an extremely cost-effective way to recruit intelligent and loyal staff.  Please feel free to get in touch with us if you would like more information or to book a no obligation review of your staffing and training requirements. Contact us on 01174224000 or