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Frequently Asked Questions

What are Apprenticeships?

They are work-based training programmes designed around the needs of employers, which lead to a set (referred to as a 'framework') of nationally recognised qualifications.

You can use Apprenticeships to train both new and existing employees. Government funding is available to help with the cost of training apprentices.

How does an Apprenticeship work?

Apprentices will receive high quality on and off the job training and ongoing support by PDM throughout the programme. A training and assessment schedule will be agreed with the employer and apprentice at the outset of the programme. The assessor will complete an induction, set tasks and visit the apprentice on a regular basis, usually twice a month. On completion of the Apprenticeship framework, apprentices will usually have gained four to five individually certificated qualifications and an overarching Apprenticeship Certificate. Apprenticeships usually take from one to three years, depending on the subject area and level of study.

Why take on an apprentice?

Apprenticeships ensure that the workforce has the practical skills and qualifications an organisation needs now and in the future. The mixture of on and off the job learning ensures apprentices develop and learn specific skills that work best for business in a cost effective and flexible way.

Over 130,000 employers offer Apprenticeships because they understand the benefits that Apprenticeships bring to their business – increased productivity, improved competitiveness and a committed and competent work-force.

PDM are based in Andover, Hampshire and offer apprenticeship training throughout the UK.

What levels are there?

There are three levels of Apprenticeship available:

  • Intermediate Level Apprenticeships. Apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ Level 2, Functional Skills in Maths and English, and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge based qualification such as a BTEC. 
  • Advanced Level Apprenticeships. Advanced apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ Level 3, Functional skills in Maths and English, and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge based certificate such as a BTEC. To start this programme, the applicant should ideally have five GCSEs (grade C or above) or have completed an Intermediate Apprenticeship.The apprentice will need to be in a job role that will give them the experience required to complete an Advanced Apprenticeship.
  • Higher Apprenticeships . Higher apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ Level 4 and, in some cases, a knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation Degree. In some cases apprentices may progress to higher education, including university degrees.

What is a Framework?

There are a number of elements to each Apprenticeship and this is called the Framework. This means the apprentice will get a range of qualifications as they progress through their training and education. Each Apprenticeship framework has three main strands:

  • A competence based element
  • A technical element
  • A skills element

The three strands are sometimes accompanied by additional qualifications to give the most relevant skills and knowledge required for the job that they are employed in.

Where does the training take place?

As Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes, the training is ‘on the job’ – at the employers' premises. This is arranged at times to suit the employer and apprentice.

What does the training cost?

Government funding is available to help with the training costs and PDM will access all available funds. If the apprentice is 16 - 24 there cost of training is covered by funding. For older apprentices there may also be funding available. The funding covers the cost of the training, not the apprentice's wage.

Who pays their wage and how much?

The employer is responsible for paying the apprentice's wage.

Employment must be for at least 30 hours per week, except in the minority of circumstances where the learner cannot complete the full 30 hours. In these cases employment must be for more than 16 hours per week.

Apprentice National Minimum Wage

An Apprentice National Minimum Wage was introduced on 1 October 2010. The wage applies to all apprentices aged under 19; and apprentices aged 19 or over in the first year of their Apprenticeship.

The apprentice minimum wage is currently £3.30 per hour and applies to time working, plus time spent training that is part of the Apprenticeship. Employers are free to pay above the apprentice minimum wage and many do so, but employers must ensure that they are paying their apprentices at least the minimum wage.Details are subject to change, please check www.direct.gov.uk  for latest information.

If an apprentice is on a higher wage, the employer must continue to pay that for the remainder of the training or until the apprentice becomes eligible for the full national minimum wage.

Are current employees able to do an Apprenticeship?

Yes, subject to eligibility.

Are apprentices eligible for maternity leave?

Yes. Like all employees, apprentices are entitled to statutory Maternity Leave of 52 weeks with statutory Maternity Pay for up to 39 weeks.

What are my responsibilities as the employer?

You must give your apprentice an induction into their role and provide on-the-job training. As with all employees, you are also responsible for the wages of your apprentice. PDM offer advice and guidance on the role of the employer.

Do apprentices take exams?

Most assessment is carried out in the workplace but there may be a requirement to take some online tests.

Do employers have to give apprentices holidays?

Like most other employees, apprentices must be given at least 20 days’ paid holiday per year as well as bank holidays.

Is there a limit to the number of apprentices that an employer can take on?

No, they can take on as many as they need – and often in more than one framework.

Do apprentices pay tax and national insurance?

As is the case of all employees aged over 16, apprentices must still pay tax and national insurance on their income.

How often do apprentices attend training sessions?

PDM assessors visit every two weeks or so, for approximately one hour. Training is delivered on the employer's premises, thus minimising downtime. 

What’s the role of the training provider?

A training provider is a specialist training organisation responsible for an apprentice's off-the-job training. When you take on an apprentice, PDM will appoint an assessor who will work with you to make sure that the training is well planned. Once the apprentice begins, the assessor will follow their progress and deal with any issues that may arise.

How can I find out more?

Download our brochure - PDM Apprenticeships, Your Questions Answered

Email [email protected]

Call: 01264 321340