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Employing an apprentice

by British Association Landscape Industries

BALI is committed to supporting the landscape industry in addressing the skills gaps and shortages, to this end we have produced a brief report to support employers who are considering taking on an apprentice to show the options that are available.

 

What is an apprenticeship?

It’s a work – based training programme that combines on the job training with a nationally recognised qualification. An apprentice needs to be aged 16 or over and can be a new or current employee, who is living in the UK and not in full time education.

Employing an apprentice can bring many benefits to your business:

  • It can be a cost effective way of recruiting and training a new member of staff
  • They can be trained specifically to your business to fill  skills gaps
  • You gain an employee that is loyal and committed to your business

The apprenticeship lasts between a minimum of 12 months to 36 months depending on the level.

 

Funding

The Government will help you finance an apprenticeship, this is dependent on whether you have to pay the Apprenticeship levy, which applies to all businesses that have a wage bill over £3m a year (see below).

If you are below the levy threshold, then you pay 5% towards the cost of training and assessing your apprentice, this will be done through agreeing a payment schedule with the training organisation and paying them directly.

If your organisation has below 50 employees, the Government will 100% fund 16-18 year old apprentices. 19-24 year old with an Education Health Care plan (EHC) plan means you will have to pay 10%.

There is an incentive payment of a £1,000 for each 16-18 year old apprentice or 19-24 year old with an EHC plan.

 

The apprenticeship levy

All UK businesses with a pay bill over £3m with have to pay 0.5% of that bill. The annual wage bill is calculated as all payments to employees that are subject to employer Class 1 Secondary National Insurance Contributions (NIC’s), this includes wages, bonuses and commissions.

Employers will receive a £15,000 fixed annual allowance (not a cash payment) to offset against the levy payment.

 

Employer responsibilities

As an employer you will be responsible for paying the employee’s wage depending on age at least at minimum wage level.

https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates

  • Provide holiday pay, a minimum of 20 days + bank holidays
  • Allow your apprentice to spend at least 20% of their working hours on off-the-job training

 

Qualifications

In terms of your apprentices training, you can choose their level and subject.

There are two different types of apprenticeship training:

Apprenticeship standards – each standard covers a specific occupation and sets out the core skills, knowledge and behaviours an apprentice will need; they are developed by employer groups known as ‘trailblazers’.

There is also the apprenticeship frameworks – a series of work-related vocational and professional qualifications, with workplace and classroom based training. These will eventually be replaced with the above apprenticeship standards.

There are two horticulture work – based qualifications at Levels 2 and 3.

Intermediate Level 2 typically lasts 20 months with a funding band of up to £2000 per apprentice.

Advanced Level 3 typically lasts 24 months with a funding band of up to £2500 per apprentice.

The Level 2 Apprenticeship standard for Horticulture/Landscape Operative qualification has a typical length of 20 – 24 months and a funding band of up to £5000 per apprentice.

Once competing the Level 2 Apprenticeship (or with the relevant experience/qualifications, candidates can progress onto the Level 3 Landscape/Horticulture Supervisor apprenticeship which has a typical length of 15 – 36 months and a funding band of up to £8000.

Once you have selected the qualification you want your apprentice to undertake, choose a training provider in your locality, you will also need to select an End Point Assessment (EPA) provider.

There are a number of BALI members that are registered training providers and run the appropriate qualifications, please visit bali.org.uk to find one local to you.

Considerations before taking on an apprentice:

  • Are you confident you will have enough work to sustain the apprentice?
  • Does the company cover enough aspects of the apprenticeship criteria to complete the criteria?
  • Is there someone in the company to mentor and support the apprentice?

 

Recruiting an apprentice

  • Advertise in your local area
  • Advertise on BALI jobs visit horticulturecareers.co.uk
  • Advertise on ‘find an apprentice’ https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship
  • Interview, but don’t be afraid to re advertise if you don’t find anyone suitable.

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