Since 1st April, English employers have managed their apprenticeships via the Government’s Manage Apprenticeships scheme. With this change, employers with an annual pay bill of less than £3 million have been able to use the Apprenticeship Service for the first time.
This means that employers of any size can now register an account and gain access to apprenticeship funds.
With the summer months seeing a peak of interest in apprenticeships as school and college leavers decide on their next steps, it’s integral that employers know what steps they need to take to make apprenticeships work for them.
This guide is designed to help you get started on the road to becoming a great apprentice employer.
Before you can create an account on the Apprenticeship Service, you will need to ensure you have the following:
- An email address
- Permission to add PAYE schemes to the account
- Permission to accept the employer agreement on behalf of your organisation
- Companies House number
- Charity number and/or public body name (if applicable)
You will also need either:
- Government Gateway login for your organisation, or;
- Accounts office reference number and employer PAYE scheme reference number
Once you have the above items prepped, visit the Manage Apprenticeships page to get started.
If you are a training provider and working with an employer who has not yet set themselves up on the Apprenticeship Service, you can help them to do this.
On the Training Provider page, you can use the “Set up employer account” feature to send them a pre-populated registration form. The employer will still need to approve the form, but it will go some way to helping them to complete their registration.
If you do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy and would like to hire an apprentice, you must reserve funding prior to registering an apprentice.
This reservation will ensure you have funding available to support training and assessment costs.
If you are a training provider working with an employer, you can reserve funds on their behalf via the Apprenticeship Service. The employer will need to grant you permission to do this when they set up their account. They will retain final approval over all actions on the account.
Reservations are not necessary for any employers that pay the Apprenticeship Levy, or if the apprentice has funding via a Transfer.
When planning the beginning of your apprenticeship, it’s important to know how the programme will end. To do this, you will need to choose an ESFA-approved End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO).
Best described as a cross between a driving test examiner and an exam board, an EPAO is an ESFA-approved independent assessor.
At the end of your apprentice’s training, they will meet with your apprentice to assess their level of ability. Assessment methods vary by the standard (apprenticeship subject) and can be conducted both on-site and remotely.
Whilst your training provider may recommend an EPAO, it’s important to remember that this is your choice. You can elect to work with the assessor that best matches your requirements.
If you are looking externally to hire your apprentice, you can add the opportunity to the Apprenticeship Service. Simply navigate to “Your Apprenticeship Adverts” in your account and follow the prompts to create the listing.
Once your listing is live, it will be shared on the Government’s Find an Apprenticeship directory, which is used by would-be apprentices from across the country.
Besides our services as an EPAO, Instructus Skills is a pan-sector skills body and the UK’s largest apprenticeship certification authority. If you have any questions about using the Apprenticeship Service, or any other part of the process, feel free to contact us for impartial advice.