Explore our frequently asked questions to learn more about the services that we provide to employers.
What is an apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships are industry specific work-based learning programmes designed to develop the apprentices’ skills, from junior to management levels. Combining both theory and practical assessments in the workplace, alongside assignments and exams at College, apprenticeships include skills, knowledge and behaviours with qualifications required for specific job roles including English and maths.
What do the different apprenticeship levels mean?
There are various levels of apprenticeships available through Wirral Met College, with different levels equating to qualifications as described below.
Five GCSE passes at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C)
Two A-Level passes at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C)
4 & 5
Foundation Degrees, Higher National Certificates and Diplomas
6 Bachelor's Degree 7 Master's Degree
What does it cost and what funding is available?
Apprenticeship costs differ and depend on the level of the qualification.
If your businesses’ pay bill is less than £3 million per year, you will pay 5% of the cost to the College, as your chosen training provider, towards the costs of training and assessing your apprentice. The government will then pay the College 95% up to the funding band maximum.
If your business employs fewer than 50 people, you will not have to pay the 5% contribution for an apprentice aged between 16 and 18, or between 19 and 24 if they have previously been in care, or have an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Pplan) provided by the local authority. The government will pay the College 100% of the training cost.
If your business’ pay bill exceeds £3 million per year, you will be required to pay an apprenticeship levy of 0.5% of your annual pay bill. The amount you pay is calculated by the HMRC using data that they hold about the home addresses of your employees. The levy is collected by the HMRC directly through the businesses’ PAYE and is payable alongside income tax and National Iinsurance – there is an annual allowance of £15,000.00 which is deducted on a monthly basis across 12 months.
What is a ‘pay bill’?
‘Pay bill’ is defined by the total employee earnings that are subject to class 1 secondary National Insurance contributions.
An allowance of £15,000.00 means that only those employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3million have to pay and report the levy, as this allowance eliminates a levy liability up to a pay bill of £3million.
A pay bill of less than £3million may attract a levy liability where an employer operates multiple payrolls, or has more than one HMRC reference, or is a connected company or charity, as only one allowance is available.
How can I access levy funds as an employer and how can it be spent?
Once you have declared the levy to the HMRC, your business can access funding through your digital account with the Apprenticeship Service (URL). Valid for 24 months, you can spend the levy on apprenticeship training only.
How does the transfer of a levy work?
Businesses who pay the levy and have unused funds can transfer up to 25% of their annual funds to other businesses. There is no limit to the number of businesses that the funds can be transferred to, however they must only be used for apprenticeship training.
What are the benefits of employing an apprentice?
Aside from creating a highly skilled workforce through comprehensive work-based learning and boosting productivity, there are many benefits to apprenticeships.
Existing employees – you can provide progression opportunities for existing employees through a cost-effective training solution that supports succession plans whilst providing a great return on investment.
New recruits – you can create a highly skilled workforce, moulding new recruits with the attitudes and behaviours that represent your business’ core values.
Working with Wirral Met College – by working with us to deliver your apprenticeship programme(s), you will receive a personal service from our experienced team, who will act as a Training Manager for your business, providing advice and guidance on funding and recruitment.
Is there any legislation behind hiring an apprentice?
Apprentices are employed by your business and must therefore be issued with a contract of employment in line with The Enterprise Act 2016 – with no mention of the College within the terms and conditions of this contract. You must provide apprentices with a full induction, including health and safety as well as any clothing or PPE required for their role. Apprentices must receive the minimum salary in line with the Apprentice Wage for the first year of the apprenticeship and the National Minimum Wage thereafter.
What is the eligibility for hiring an apprentice?
Employers – any organisation can hire an apprentice, no matter the size or the sector.
Apprentices – apprentices must be aged 16+ and can be either new recruits or existing employees. Although apprentices can already have a degree level qualification, it must not be related to the apprenticeship Standard.
What are the working hours of an apprentice and how frequently are they required to attend College?
Apprentices should work for at least 30 hours per week, inclusive of 20% off-the-job training*. If the apprentice works fewer than 30 hours per week, the duration of the apprenticeship will be extended (pro-rata). Time spent at the College for training must be included within working hours and paid at the normal rate. The frequency entirely depends upon the apprenticeship standard.
*20% off-the-job training is a crucial element to an apprenticeship and can include College day release (excluding English and maths) or training delivered at the apprentice’s place of work.
What is a traineeship?
Traineeship programmes are designed to help young people aged 16 to 24, or 25 for those with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) progress on to an apprenticeship. Upon completion of the programme, trainees will finish with high quality work experience, as well as English and maths skills. They will also have an opportunity to gain interpersonal and interview skills via either a job interview (if a relevant position is available), or an exit interview that will provide valuable feedback to help them towards securing an apprenticeship or employment.
What are the benefits of taking on a trainee?
The flexibility of traineeships will provide your business with the opportunity to build a high quality recruitment pipeline, securing tomorrow’s talent today, whilst aidingthe development of Corporate Social Responsibility strategies. Benefits include:
- Providing your existing employees with experience in training and mentoring
- Allowing you to design a programme that suits the needs of your business
- Helping to increase capacity and productivity
- Creating a loyal and talented workforce
- Aiding in tackling youth unemployment
What are my responsibilities as an employer?
When offering a traineeship, you will need to provide your trainee with:
- A meaningful, high quality work experience placement
- A minimum of 100 hours’ work experience
- Constructive feedback and advice
- An interview for an apprenticeship in your business upon completion of the programme, if available, or
- An exit interview at the end of the programme with meaningful written feedback, if no apprenticeship is available
How much does a traineeship cost?
There are no fees associated for the employer when taking on a trainee.
How long do traineeships last?
A traineeship programme lasts a minimum of six weeks, to a maximum of one year, with content tailored to meet the needs of the business.
Work Experience/Supported Internship FAQs
What are my responsibilities as an employer?
You will need to assign one key member of staff who will mentor and support the student during their placement at your business. The placement should include tasks and projects to help the student build their experience of working in your industry, as well as sessions shadowing key roles within your organisation.
How long are industry placements?
Industry placements are flexible as per your preference, from one or two days per week over a five-month period, or a six to eight week full-time placement. Work experience placements should last a minimum of 45 days or 315 hours.
How do supported internships work?
Working similarly to work experience placements (URL), a supported internship is designed to help young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) develop valuable employability skills such as communication, confidence, timekeeping and teamwork, enabling them to build a good CV for today’s competitive job market.
Expand the work you do within the local community by offering supported internships.
Wirral Met College will support you every step of the way, offering a personal service that you can rely on.