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 £3.50 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


Apprenticeship reforms

The Government has introduced a number of reforms to Apprenticeship provision, which are detailed below, including the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, Funding changes for non-Levy payers, Trailblazers and National Insurance savings.

If you are an employer looking to take on an Apprentice, or to put existing workforce on an Apprenticeship with Stoke on Trent College, please be aware that you must have a discussion first of all with our commercial team, so that a contract can be agreed between the College and employer and be signed, prior to any Apprentices starting to attend college for their off-the-job training.


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.

What is the Apprenticeship Levy for?

Effective April 2017 through the new Apprenticeship Levy, the Government aims to increase the number of Apprenticeship starts to 3 million by 2020.

Will my business pay the Apprenticeship Levy?

Do you know if you will have to pay the Apprenticeship Levy and how it will impact your business? Only 1.3% of UK employers will need to pay the Apprenticeship Levy. There will be alternative arrangements for those employers who won’t pay the Levy.

All UK employers who have a total employee pay bill above £3m a year will pay the Levy. This includes public and private sector, charities and educational providers such as academy groups and universities.  The Levy rate is set at 0.5% of any pay bill over £3M per annum.

How will the Government collect the Levy?

Payments will be collected monthly by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) through Pay as You Earn (PAYE), alongside tax and National Insurance.

How much Apprenticeship Levy will I pay?

Employers get a £15,000 fixed annual allowance to offset against the Levy payment. Please use the following link for more information on the direct gov website.

Here are some examples of how much employers may pay in Levy:

Example 1:

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

Annual pay bill: 250 x £20,000 = £5,000,000
Levy applied: 0.5% x £5,000,000 = £25,000
After allowance applied: £25,000-£15,000 means £10,000 Levy payment

Example 2:

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

Annual pay bill: 100 x £20,000 = £2,000,000
Levy applied: 0.5% x £2,000,000 = £10,000
After allowance applied: £10,000-£15,000 means £0 Levy payment

One of the benefits of the scheme is that it places control of Apprenticeship funding into the hands of the employer. This allows you to invest in Apprenticeship training for new and existing staff to help secure the future of your business.

What does the Apprenticeship Levy mean for small employers?

If your business has an annual pay bill less than £3m it will not have to pay the Levy, however you will still be able to access funding for Apprenticeships.

Co-funded Apprenticeship Training

If you don’t pay the Levy and have over 50 employees, Apprenticeship training will be co-funded. The Government will pay 90% of the negotiated cost of Apprenticeship training and the employer will pay the remaining 10%.

Fully-Funded Apprenticeship Training – Small Company Waiver

If you employ less than 50 staff and you train 16-18 year old Apprentices they will be fully funded.

NB If Apprentices are aged 19+ the co-funded rate applies and you will pay 10% of the negotiated cost.

Can Apprenticeship funding be spent on existing staff?

Yes – a staff member in an existing job role, where the individual needs significant new knowledge and skills, may undertake an approved Apprenticeship programme.

Funds can only be used towards the costs of Apprenticeship training. They cannot be used on other associated costs such as Apprentice wages, travel and subsidiary costs or the costs of setting up an Apprenticeship programme.

What happens to the Levy money once it’s paid?

The money collected by HMRC will sit in your digital account which you will be able to use to pay for Apprenticeship training.

For further information, please see the following link via the direct gov website: –

How will I draw down from the Levy fund?

Levy paying employers will be able to set up their Digital Accounts on the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS), choose the type of Apprenticeship they want to run, the number of Apprenticeships they take on, all of which can be delivered through Stoke on Trent College. Once the account is set up Levy payers will access this to make payments to the College.

What will an Apprenticeship cost?

For Levy and non-Levy payers, please contact our Business Services Team to discuss costs.

Which provider can we use to deliver the Apprenticeship programme?

Stoke on Trent College is an approved provider on the Register of Approved Training Providers (RoATP).

This means we have been through an application process with the ESFA that considers due diligence, capability, quality and financial health to assess our capability to deliver high-quality Apprenticeship training.

Are there any additional payments for Apprenticeships?

An employer will receive a payment of £1000 towards the additional cost associated with Apprenticeship training if, at the start of the Apprenticeship, the Apprentice is:

  • Aged between 16 and 18 years old (or 15 years of age if the Apprentice’s 16th birthday is between the last Friday of June and 31 August)
  • Aged between 19 and 24 years old and has either an education, health and care plan provided by the local authority, or has been in the care of the local authority

Will my Levy fund expire and are there any top ups?

The Government will automatically add 10% to the funds in your Apprenticeship service account. They will apply this 10% top-up monthly, at the same time the funds enter your account.

Funds that you don’t use will expire 24 months after they enter your account. Whenever a payment for training is taken from your account, the service always uses the funds that entered your account first. Your Apprenticeship service account will let you know when funds are due to expire.

Under what circumstances will I have to pay more?

You will need to pay more once your business has spent all your Levy contribution and top-up and you want to spend more on Apprenticeship training.

How will the Government fund Apprenticeships which start before the Levy is introduced?

Apprenticeships which start before the Levy payment (1st May 2017) will continue to be funded for their full duration under the current funding model. Apprenticeship funding is provided through the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), and the size of the contribution varies depending on the sector and the age of the Apprentice.

The Levy - Our FREE consultation service

Stoke on Trent College is perfectly positioned to help you prepare and understand how the new Apprenticeship Levy will affect funding for new or existing staff.

Simply call our Business Services Team on 01782 603603 or email us at

Further Information

Further information on the support available can be found in the Government’s funding updates or by contacting our Business Services Team who can take you through what the changes mean for you and how Stoke on Trent College can help you to make the most of the opportunities it provides.

Tel: 01782 603603


Stoke on Trent College, Stoke Road, Shelton, Stoke on Trent ST4 2DG and Moorland Road, Burslem, Stoke on Trent, ST6 1JJ

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


To find out how we can help your business just get in touch.

Tel 01782 603603, Email or complete the form below.