Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes, designed to give individuals nationally recognised qualifications and give businesses a highly skilled employee.

Our experienced team will work with you and can help you find new Apprentices or develop your existing team. All our advisers have substantial industry experience, probably within your sector, as well as being qualified in Apprenticeship delivery. Apprenticeships are available to all businesses, from micro to large multinational companies, and all industry sectors. In addition, we may be able to help you to claim additional funding to support the recruitment of an Apprentice.



Building Skills

82% of employers take on Apprentices to build the skills capacity within their Businesses.


Lower recruitment costs

75% of Apprentice employers say the programme has helped cut recruitment costs.


Increased employee satisfaction

88% of Apprentice employers believe that lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce, leading to a greater loyalty and quality.


Reduced staff turnover

80% of employers feel that Apprenticeships reduce staff turnover.


greater productivity

81% of Apprentice employers say they make their businesses more productive. The average Apprenticeship completer increases business productivity by £214 per week.


of consumers…

favour using a company which take on Apprentices OVER 200,000 workplaces in England offer Apprenticeships to attract new talent and re-skill existing staff.

How will having an Apprentice benefit my business?

  • Improve productivity
  • Fill skills gaps, including specialist skills specific to your industry
  • Make your business more competitive
  • Reduce training costs
  • Reduce recruitment costs
  • Assist with succession planning
  • Motivate staff and reduce staff turnover
  • Provide a significant return on investment

We offer a wide choice of Apprenticeships to suit all industries and sectors, including:

  • Business, IT, Administration and Management
  • Construction and Building Services
  • Engineering, Manufacturing and Motor Vehicle
  • Facilities Management
  • Health, Care, Early Years and Scientific
  • Logistics and Warehousing
  • Service Industries

For more information on the individual Apprenticeships available please see the links below:

You can hire an Apprentice from as little as £3.40 per hour. The average salary for Apprentices is approximately £170 per week. The Government provides a substantial amount of funding towards Apprenticeships. The level of funding depends on the age of the Apprentice.

Apprentices aged 16-18

Training is FREE

Apprentices aged 19-24yrs

Contribution to the cost of the training

Apprentices aged 25yrs and over

Contribution depends on the sector

£1,500 Apprenticeship Grant

You may be eligible for a £1,500 VAT-free AGE Grant if:

  • You employ fewer than 50 staff
  • Your Apprentice is aged 16-24
  • You have not employed an Apprentice in the last 12 months

The AGE Grant aims to support businesses who would not otherwise be in a position to recruit individuals aged 16-24 through the Apprenticeship programme.

As an employer you can receive up to 5 grants in total.

Please contact us to confirm availability and eligibility.


Apprenticeship reforms

As part of Government reviews into Apprenticeship provision, a number of changes are taking place, as follows:

The Government aims to deliver 3 million Apprenticeship starts by 2020. To help achieve this, a new Levy is being taken from all employers with a wage bill of £3Million or over from April 2017 to pay for increased Apprenticeship funding. The Levy will be 0.5% of the total wage bill.

Each employer will receive an allowance of £15,000 to offset against the Levy payment. But don’t worry – Apprentices bring real benefits to your business.

Who the levy affects

The levy will apply to all UK employers in both the private and public sectors.

It is payable on annual pay bills of more than £3 million. Employers with an annual pay bill of less than £3 million will not pay the levy. These employers will continue to have access to government funding to support apprenticeships. In June 2016 we will provide further details of what that support is expected to be.

In practice, less than 2% of UK employers will pay the apprenticeship levy.

The government is working with devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to agree how the levy system may work for employers with employees in these parts of the UK.

Employers who already pay into an existing levy scheme

The government is working with the relevant Industry Training Boards for the construction and engineering construction industries. They will consult with their members ahead of the introduction of the apprenticeship levy on how their existing arrangements will be affected and whether any changes are required.

How much you will pay

The levy will be charged at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s pay bill. Levy payments will be collected monthly by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) through Pay as You Earn (PAYE), payable alongside tax and National Insurance. Pay bill will be based on total employee earnings subject to Class 1 secondary National Insurance Contributions (NICs).

There will be a £15,000 fixed annual allowance for employers to offset against their levy payment. A connected person rule, similar to the one used for the Employment Allowance, will mean that employers who operated multiple payrolls will only be able to claim one allowance for the levy.

Examples of employer levy payments

Example 1:

Employer of 250 employees, each with a gross salary of £20,000 would pay:

  • Pay bill: 250 x £20,000 = £5,000,000
  • Levy sum: 0.5% x £5,000,000 = £25,000
  • Allowance: £25,000 – £15,000 = £10,000 annual levy payment

Example 2:

Employer of 100 employees, each with a gross salary of £20,000 would pay:

  • Pay bill: 100 x £20,000 = £2,000,000
  • Levy sum: 0.5% x £2,000,000 = £10,000
  • Allowance: £10,000 – £15,000 = £0 annual levy payment

What happens to the money once it is paid?

The money will be collected by HMRC. Individual employers’ funding for apprenticeship training in England will then be made available to you via a new Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) account. Employers will be able to use this to pay for training for apprentices. The service will also support employers to identify a training provider, choose an apprenticeship training course and find a candidate.

The DAS will also enable employers to:

  • select an apprenticeship training course
  • choose the training provider or providers they want to deliver the training
  • post apprenticeship vacancies

The main functions of this service will be in place by April 2017.

Spending the levy

Employers will be able to use their funding (up to a cap which will depend upon the standard or framework that is being trained against) to cover the costs of an apprentice’s training, assessment and certification.

Employers will not be able to use levy funds to cover all the costs associated with taking on an apprentice. For example, overheads, supervision costs and apprentices’ wages will not be funded by the levy.

Funding caps

You can spend your levy funds on training your apprentice against an approved standard or framework. This includes either existing staff or new recruits as long as the training meets an approved standard or framework and the individual meets the apprentice eligibility criteria.

Who provides the training?

Employers can only spend their levy funds on apprenticeship training delivered by an approved provider, such as Stoke on Trent College.

Getting out more than you put in to the levy

The levy will put apprenticeship funding in the hands of employers and will encourage you to invest in your apprentices and take on more.

Employers in England who pay the levy and are committed to apprenticeship training will be able to get out more than they pay in to the levy through a top up to their digital accounts.

The government will apply a 10% top-up to monthly funds entering levy-paying employers digital accounts, for apprenticeship training in England, from April 2017. All funds entering a levy-payer’s account will be increased, so every £1 will be increased to £1.10 in value.

Unused levy funds

The government wants employers to have the flexibility to pay for their apprenticeship training when it best suits their business needs. They also want to ensure that levy funds which are unused keep their value by reallocating them to committed employers, who can use them to fund more quality apprenticeship training.

The government is looking at the amount of time before levy funds can be reallocated and will provide more information about this by June 2016.

Additional funding by employers

There are 2 circumstances where levy-paying employers are likely to have to contribute additional funds:

  • where the cost of the training they wish to buy is greater than the funding cap for a particular standard or framework
  • where an employer has spent all of their levy contribution and all of their top-up and wishes to spend more on additional apprenticeship training

Further information

The government will publish further information about the apprenticeship levy throughout this year, such as:

  • an employer guide, outlining the operating model for the levy in April 2016
  • draft funding rates in June
  • final funding rates in the autumn of 2016

Stoke on Trent College will make this information available on our website once it is published.

A Trailblazer is a group of employers developing new Apprenticeship standards specific to job roles in their sector.

The Trailblazer programme is designed to ensure that Apprenticeship programmes are employer-led and will ensure that all Apprenticeship programmes are delivered and measured consistently.

What makes these Apprenticeships different?

The overall objective of the new Apprenticeships standards is to ensure that Apprenticeships are truly employer led.

Standards are therefore designed by employers (Trailblazer groups) to meet their needs, the needs of their sector and the economy more widely.

Guidance around the development of the standards specifies that they need to be short, easy to understand documents that describe the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to undertake a specific occupation well, and to operate confidently within a sector.

The new standards focus on how an Apprentice should demonstrate understanding of an occupation, and meet professional registration requirements in sectors where this exists (for example, in engineering, science and accountancy).

The approved standard therefore is a concisely written document that outlines the skills, knowledge and behaviours required of the Apprentice and the job they need to be able to do by the time they have completed their Apprenticeship.

How are Trailblazer groups formed?

A minimum of ten employers including small employers, put in an expression of interest to develop a standard for a specific job role to the government’s Business Innovation and Skills Department (BIS) through a monthly submission cycle.

Successful applications will need to meet specific criteria to ensure that the occupation is suitable for the development of an Apprenticeship standard, and that the proposed employer group is representative of the relevant sector or sectors.

What does each Trailblazer group do?

 Each Trailblazer uses the specific criteria to develop their draft standard.

Once standard has been drafted and consulted upon, they will then formally submit to BIS for approval. Once approved, the new Apprenticeships standard will be published.

The Trailblazer will then develop their assessment plan which will set out:

  • What will be assessed
  • How the Apprentice will be assessed at the end of their Apprenticeship to judge competency
  • Indicate who will carry out the assessment and who will make the final judgement of competency and grading which will need to be independent of the employer and training provider.

The assessment plan will then be submitted to BIS for approval.  Once approved it will be published with a funding cap (i.e. the maximum amount of funding that will be available from the government for this Apprenticeship), and the standard becomes approved for delivery.

What do all standards have in common?

To ensure every standard is of high quality there are seven criteria that all Apprenticeship standards must meet which are:

  1. Be short and concise
  2. Set out the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed in an occupation, so that, on completion, the Apprentice is able to competently carry out the role in any size of employer across any relevant sectors
  3. Have the support of employers including smaller businesses
  4. Be sufficiently stretching so that it will require at least a year of training (before the end point assessment) with off the job training accounting for at least 20% of the Apprenticeship
  5. Align to professional registration where it exists
  6. Contain minimum English and maths requirements and any digital skills required
  7. Only include mandatory qualifications under certain circumstances.

How are Trailblazers relevant for my business?

The new Apprenticeships standards are designed by employers to meet needs of employers in that sector. Therefore in the future the Apprenticeships programmes your Apprentices are learning on should be precisely geared towards achieving the skills your business needs for that job role.

Once an Apprentice completes an Apprenticeship based on a new standard, the objective is that they will be a fully competent and productive employee in that job role.

From April 2016 employers of Apprentices under the age of 25 will no longer be required to pay secondary Class 1 (employer) National Insurance contributions (NICs) on earnings up to the Upper Earnings Limit (UEL), for those employees, providing a cost saving benefit for your business.


  • Belvoir Lettings Partnership

  • Bennetts Architectural Partnership

  • Platinum Services Partnership

  • The Farm Shop and Stoke on Trent College partnership

  • Sydney Heath & Sons

  • Project Fire, Hixon

  • One of the key employers who have benefitted from employing Apprentices through the College is Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, with over 30 Apprentices on their books.   Tim Wareham, Training Manager for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service believes Apprenticeships can be the way forward for many businesses. To us the concept of Apprenticeships is simple, it’s about expanding the skills and knowledge of one generation to support a new cohort of talent within the organisation. Stoke on Trent College were able to offer us a bespoke package of training and support, and were able to help identify additional support and funding which helped to increase our training capacity which was brilliant. In return we keep hold of our Apprentices and keep developing them. Many have stayed with us and have gone onto full time positions within the service.

    Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service

  • We made the decision to move our Student Pharmacy technician training base to Stoke College several years ago. We have found Stoke to provide regular and planned standardisation meetings for the QCF assessors and IQA’s at base – something that didn’t happen at our previous training centre. Our students get a lot more support and coaching from the pharmacy training team. Assignments are planned throughout the academic year and seem to be well spaced. There is always someone to contact if we need questions answered or problems sorting, only a phone call away. I have always had a fast response to any email correspondence. I would recommend Stoke for future student technician training.

    Katie Chauha, Worcestershire Royal Hospital

  • As an ex-Apprentice himself, Darren knows how important it is to provide Apprenticeship opportunities to individuals. Darren said “The Apprentice training that the college has provided has been great. The staff have kept me informed of my Apprentice’s progress and have always been very professional and approachable. They’re supportive and are always there to answer any questions and queries I have, this level of support is invaluable.

    Darren Johnson, DJ Plumbing & Heating

  • Port Vale FC Foundation would highly recommend the services provided by Stoke-on-Trent College and all the team behind the recruitment of apprenticeships. We have recently been involved with the process and found the whole team extremely helpful and professional throughout. We were first attracted to the college through the new institute of sports and also the college is our nearest provider with the current links already it made sense to extend the partnership we have in more depth. The support we received throughout was fantastic with the flexible work around the specific needs of our business enabling us to recruit the ideal course and candidate for the role. The dedication of the support from the moment we got in touch, information and guidance throughout and involvement on the day was beyond the expectations we had. All the above prompted us to use the services again and take a second apprenticeship on board.

    Tom Sherratt, Port Vale Football Club

  • Norcros Adhesives discuss how working with Stoke on Trent College has benefitted their business.

    Norcros Adhesives & Stoke on Trent College Partnership

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    Autonet Insurance Partnership


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Tel 01782 603603, Email or complete the form below.