The Engineering Trust


From April, the incentives, which have been in place since August 2020, will become more generous with a £3,000 payment per new hire, regardless of the apprentice’s age. This is on top of the £1,000 payment provided for new apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan, meaning that employers could receive up to £4,000 in total.

As we enter March, it’s a key time of the year when a lot of businesses begin to plan their apprenticeship starts for September.

But let’s be clear, you can take on an apprentice at any time of the year, or use an apprenticeship to train an existing member of staff, there is no need to wait until September. However, for employers who want to take on a school or college leaver, offering an apprenticeship vacancy that starts in September, or just before, fits those young people finishing their current studies and who are ready for their first step into a career. 

The incentives are a welcome bonus for employing an Apprentice and will go towards reducing the costs surrounding taking on a new hire. Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to bring employees into your business. This might be to plug skill gaps in your team, put the foundations in place for growth or begin the handing down of skills from workers who might be looking to retire in the next few years. It’s well known that the Engineering sector has an aging workforce. Young people learning from experienced staff is key to combating the shortfall of Engineers and Technicians with apprenticeships an effective tool to do this.

Les Jones from Owen Mumford and Colin Page from Chiltern Railway give us their top tips for any business thinking about taking on an apprentice. The advice may also be relevant to those who have already employed apprentices in the past with Les touching on the move from Apprenticeship ‘Frameworks’ to ‘Standards’. 


Top Tips

#1 Taylor Your Recruitment 
Colin talks about how important it is to find the right person. His strategy of getting candidates into company to assess their practical ability as part of the recruitment process is one we definitely endorse. With the country moving towards a relaxation of restrictions, the ability to put this step into your recruitment process will be viable. We offer a recruitment service that includes advertising the role, accessing applications, an aptitude test and telephone interview. Only those who are successful through this process are then put forward to you for interview. The final decision about who you ultimately take on always rest with you. 

#2 Understanding the new Apprenticeship Standards
Les speaks about the new Apprenticeship Standards and getting his managers on board with the new way of apprenticeship delivery. Standards are Employer lead and much of the training is delivered in-company by your team. This is something that has to be planned for and buy-in from those who will be training the apprentice in the workplace is crucial. You also have to plan for 20% of the apprentice’s work time as ‘off-the-job training’ (calculated across the whole apprenticeship) and identifying what aspects contribute to this is something our Training Officers would assist you with.

#3 Company Training Plan
As Colin mentions, a Company Training Plan (CTP) is vital to map out the training that will be delivered by you in-company. Specific to your business and the role within which you have employed the apprentice, the CTP should lead to them gaining the knowledge, skills and behaviours that you require them to have by the end of the apprenticeship. Our Training Officers works with you to ensure the plan is in place, meets the requirements set out in the Apprenticeship Standard and then assess the learning to progress the apprentice through their programme. 

#4 Strong Relationship with your Training Provider 
We very much agree with Les on this point and work hard to build strong relationships with all the businesses within which we work. It is important to recognise that different providers offer different approaches to the way in which they work with you and the apprentice. We offer a high level of interaction and support for all involved in the apprenticeship and visit the apprentice in the workplace at least once every six weeks. As with any market place, there are multiple providers who can deliver your apprenticeship so you should work to find the one that fits best with your business.

#5 Smother them with Love!
Fantastic comment from Colin as it really encapsulates how to set your scheme up to succeed and get the best from your apprentice. Encouragement, across what can be a 4-year training programme, is really important to them achieving and becoming the employee you want and need. Our Training Officers are not only there to assess the apprentice, they also help them throughout (and beyond) the programme, offering industry specific support, advice, guidance and motivation.  


Contact us. That’s it…..

We will consult with you to understand the role you are looking to employ an apprentice within, match it to an Apprenticeship Standard, take you through the funding available specific to your business and answer any questions you have about the training and college requirements. We will give you all the information you need to decide if taking on an apprentice is right for you.

If you decide you do want to take on an apprentice, we will support you every step of the way from recruitment to completion.

Get in touch.
01993 882008

Written by Mark, ETT CEO.