Did you know that businesses report an average increase in productivity of £214 a week when they hire apprentices?

Are you new to Apprenticeships?

If yes, our guide will give you all the tools and information you need!

What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are real jobs with real responsibilities. The apprentice gains valuable on-the-job experience whilst also completing a technical qualification.
There are various levels of qualification that can be achieved via the apprenticeship pathway. On average, an Intermediate Apprenticeship will take approximately 12 months to complete, an Advanced Apprenticeship 12-18 months and a Higher Apprenticeship can take up to 2 years.

Below are the different levels that are accessible to your potential apprentices along with the average timescales for completion. The completion times could vary depending on your apprentice, the contracted hours, chosen standard/framework and provider.



Equivalent Education Level




GCSE (A* - E)

12 months



A Level (A – C)

12 to 18 months


4, 5, 6 and 7

Foundation Degree and above

24 months


6 and 7

Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree

36 to 60 months




36 to 60 months

By creating an apprenticeship Tameside Council can offer certain benefits.

20% Off-the-Job Training

In line with the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s new apprenticeship funding rules, which were put in place following the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, all new standards must contain 20% off-the-job training.

The 20% off-the-job training is calculated using the apprentice’s contracted employment hours across their whole apprenticeship – equivalent to around one day per working week. Off-the-job training isn’t restricted to classroom learning. It can be used for a number of different activities such as reading, research or tasks with team members – anything the apprentice wouldn’t usually do during their working day. This gives employers and apprentices the opportunity to do something innovative, learn new skills and bring value into the business. 

Who will plan the 20% off the job training?

Whilst some employers may be able to develop their own 20% off the job activities, it is important to note, the providers of apprenticeships are there to offer expert help and support.  A quality provider will work with an employer to plan the 20% off the job training and ensure both business and apprentice get the most out of the time.
Off-the-job training does not include:

Click here for further details on the new funding rule.

The Apprenticeship Levy

The Government has set a target of 3 million apprenticeships by 2020. In order to achieve this target, they have introduced the Apprenticeship Levy. Under the new guidelines there will be no restrictions for new and existing employees with higher or degree level qualifications.

Contributing to this new levy is compulsory for businesses with a wage bill over £3 million. If the wage bill exceeds £3 million per year then the Levy will be set at 0.5% of that wage bill. The Levy allows employers to ensure people of all ages and backgrounds have the opportunity to access further education and get onto the employment ladder.

Get a sense of the cost and available funds with the Apprenticeship Levy Calculator.

As an employer looking to offer an apprenticeship opportunity, there are some key things you may wish to consider:

Latest News:
Changes to the Apprenticeship Levy have come into place. From April 1st the rate available to transfer increases to 25% of the annual value of funds entering the apprenticeship service account. These funds can be transferred to any employer, including smaller employers in your supply chain, and Apprenticeship Training Agencies (ATAs), to support new opportunities and widen participation in apprenticeships. Levy payers can see their organisation’s annual transfer allowance in their apprenticeship service account.  The co-investment rate reduced from 10% to 5% for all new starts from 1 April 2019.

For further facts on apprenticeships you could visit the Gov.UK website 

You can find more on the funding bands here


Non-Levy Paying Businesses

If you are a business which does not pay towards the Levy, you will still be able to take advantage of the funding pot to meet the needs of your workforce. Employers that aren’t paying into the Levy (as well as Levy-paying employers that have used up all their funds) will still be able to procure training under a co-investment scheme. This means your business will have to pay 5% towards the cost of training, with the government taking on the other 95%. However, if you’re taking on 16 to 18-year-olds, or 19 to 24-year olds that have a local authority education and health care plan, the government will contribute 100% of the costs associated with your apprenticeships, as well as an additional £1,000 contribution (made at three and 12 month milestones). Training providers will also receive a one-off £1,000 payment to support apprentices who meet the above criteria.

Public Sector Organisations

In addition to contributing to the apprenticeship levy, Public Sector organisations also have a target of 2.3% apprenticeship employment i.e. 2.3% of the total workforce must be apprentices.   A report of Tameside Council’s progress is below.

Apprenticeship Target Report 2021