Become an apprentice or Employ an apprentice, Legislation

employ an apprentice

Employing an apprentice

Pay and conditions for apprentices

You are responsible for:

Pay for apprentices

You must pay apprentices at least the National Minimum Wage.

There’s different rates of pay for apprentices depending on their age and what year of their apprenticeship they’ve completed.

The contract of employment should make it clear what wage you’ll pay your apprentice and for what hours.

Aged 16 to 18

The current National Minimum Wage rate for an apprentice is £4.30 per hour.

Aged 19 or over and in their first year

The current National Minimum Wage rate for an apprentice is £4.30 per hour.

Aged 19 or over and have completed their first year

Apprentices will be entitled to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage rate for their age.

Use the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage calculator to check if you’re paying your apprentices correctly.


Apprentices must work towards an approved apprenticeship. Their training must last at least 12 months.

They must be employed in a real job that gives them the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills they need to pass their assessment.

Training and study

You must pay your apprentice for time spent training or studying for their apprenticeship.

Apprentices must spend at least 20% of their normal working hours training.

The training might take place:

  • at their place of work

  • somewhere else (for example, a college or training provider)

  • online

If your apprentice is also studying for English or maths qualifications required by their apprenticeship, they are entitled to paid study time during their normal working hours.

Employee rights

You must offer apprentices the same conditions as other employees working at similar grades or in similar roles. This includes:

  • paid holidays

  • sick pay

  • any benefits you offer such as childcare voucher schemes

  • any support you offer such as coaching or mentoring

Apprentices and redundancy

Apprentices have the same employment rights as your other employees. Follow the process for making staff redundant if you have to make an apprentice redundant.

Get legal advice if you want to end the apprenticeship early for another reason.

Support for apprentices

Your apprentice can get support if they’re being made redundant or are at risk of redundancy.

They can get:

  • financial and legal advice

  • support for their health and wellbeing

  • help finding another apprenticeship

apprentice with Aston

Become an apprentice

How apprenticeships work

Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study.

As an apprentice you’ll:

  • be an employee earning a wage and getting holiday pay

  • work alongside experienced staff

  • gain job-specific skills

  • get time for training and study related to your role (at least 20% of your normal working hours)

Apprenticeships take 1 to 5 years to complete depending on their level.

Levels of apprenticeship

Apprenticeships have equivalent educational levels.



Equivalent educational level






A level


4,5,6 and 7

Foundation degree and above


6 and 7

Bachelor’s or master’s degree

Some apprenticeships may also give you an additional qualification, such as a diploma.

Who can start an apprenticeship

To start an apprenticeship, you’ll need to be:

  • 16 or over

  • living in England

  • not in full-time education

You can apply for an apprenticeship while you’re still at school but you’ll need to be 16 or over by the end of the summer holidays to start the apprenticeship.

If you need more experience

If you feel you’re not ready for an apprenticeship, a traineeship is a course designed to prepare you for one.

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