Apprenticeship FAQs

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a genuine job with an accompanying skills development programme. It is a way for individuals to earn while they learn, gaining valuable skills and knowledge in a specific job role.

They are designed by employers for employers and are created to meet the specific needs of industry.

Who are apprenticeships for?

Apprenticeships are for individuals over the age of 16 and not in full time education.

Employers can offer apprenticeships to new entrants or use them to grow talent amongst existing employees.  

The focus of an apprenticeship is to equip individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge required for specific job roles, future employment and progression.

What are the key benefits of taking on an apprentice?

Investing in an apprentice makes sound financial and business sense.  Apprentices are proven to deliver a return on investment within two years and help your business to:

  • increase productivity
  • reduce recruitment costs
  • increase employee satisfaction
  • improve competitiveness
  • build and retain a motivated, flexible and loyal workforce
  • develop people with knowledge of your products and processes
  • secure its future talent pipeline

How long does an apprenticeship last?

An apprenticeship can take between one and four years to complete depending on the type and level. On average most engineering apprenticeships take three to four years.

What support will we get if we take on an apprentice?

Semta Apprenticeship Service is with you every step of the way. Our expert team of apprenticeship advisers handle everything for you by providing:

• Free information, advice and guidance
• Support to identify the right apprenticeships for your business
• Advice if there isn’t an existing apprenticeship route available
• Funding support and advice, including apprenticeship levy guidance
• A fully managed apprentice recruitment service and ongoing support
• Managed and quality assured apprenticeship training
• Specialist assessment services, including end-point assessment

How much is it going to cost?

We know the cost of taking on an apprentice is a concern for many businesses. However, hiring and training your own apprentices with the support of Semta Apprenticeship Service can be one of the most cost effective training solutions available.  

Apprenticeship levy paying employers

If you’re an employer with a pay bill over £3 million each year, you must pay the apprenticeship levy.  You can create a government apprenticeship service account to receive levy funds to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment, up to the funding band maximum for that apprenticeship.

Semta Apprenticeship Service is on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP). This means we are quality assured and approved to deliver government funded apprenticeship training to employers who pay the apprenticeship levy.  (Please note, we appear on the RoATP as Metskill Ltd, rather than Semta Apprenticeship Service our trading name).

Non levy paying employers

If you are an employer who does not pay the apprenticeship levy, you will pay 10% towards the cost of apprenticeship training and the government will pay the rest (90%), up to the funding band maximum.

Apprenticeship funding rates

From May 2017 differentials in apprenticeship funding linked to the learners' age will be removed.  See the table below:

SSD2134 Semta Apprenticeship Funding FAQ Table-v22

Additional financial incentives are also available, which are outlined below:

Additional support for all employers

From May 2017 the following incentives are available to all employers:

  • £1,000 payment if you train a 16-18 year old apprentice
  • £1,000 payment when you train a 19-24 year old apprentice who has previously been in care or who has a local authority education, health or care plan

Additional financial incentives are also available in some regions. Semta Apprenticeship Service can support you to access all available sources of funding.

Additional support for smaller employers

From May 2017 the government will fund 100% of the apprentice's training costs for employers with fewer than 50 employees, if the apprentice is aged 19-24 years old and formerly in care or with a local authority education, health and care plan.

What do apprentices get paid?

Employers are responsible for paying their apprentice's wages.

The apprentice must receive the Apprenticeship National Minimum Wage.  Apprentices aged 16-18, or in the first year of their apprenticeship, must be paid a minimum of £3.50 per hour. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.  Currently £5.60 per hour for apprentices aged 18-20, and £7.05 for those aged 21 and over.  Many engineering businesses pay more.

How do we get started?

Simply call us on 0845 643 9001 or email us at to get started and find the right apprentices for your business.

One of Semta's expert team of apprenticeship advisers can come and visit your business, or simply talk over the phone to assess how we can support and advise you.

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