Apprenticeships – All you need to know

Skills are crucial to the development of the UK economy and Apprenticeships are crucial to this skills development. Here at the RNN Group we offer a number of Apprenticeship options including degree level Apprenticeships and we have lots of help and support for businesses considering taking on an apprentice, but what’s it all about?

What is an Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is a system of training a new generation of practitioners of a trade or profession through on-the-job training and often some accompanying study (classroom work and reading).

Apprenticeships can lead to a certification or a diploma and provide practical experience that is highly valued by employers. Employers play a critical role by providing the practical experience and mentoring needed to develop apprentices into skilled professionals.

Types of Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships can be broadly categorised into several types:

  • Trade Apprenticeships: For careers in fields such as construction, electrical work, plumbing and carpentry.
  • Technical Apprenticeships: For fields like IT, engineering and telecommunications.
  • Professional Apprenticeships: For careers in accounting, marketing and law.
  • Service Sector Apprenticeships: For roles in hospitality, retail and customer service.

Benefits of Apprenticeships and offering Apprenticeships

  • Talent Development: Train employees to meet your specific business needs and standards.
  • Employee Retention: Apprenticeships often lead to higher retention rates as apprentices develop loyalty to the company.
  • Cost-Effective Recruitment: Apprenticeships can be a cost-effective way to address skill shortages and build a talent pipeline.
  • Diverse Workforce: Encourage diversity by offering opportunities to a wide range of candidates.
  • Positive Public Image: Enhance your company’s reputation as a supporter of education and workforce development.
  • Earn While You Learn: Apprenticeships offer a salary, so apprentices can earn money while gaining qualifications and skills.
  • Hands-On Experience: They can gain practical experience and skills that are directly applicable to a chosen field.
  • Mentorship: Working alongside experienced professionals who offer guidance and support.
  • Qualifications: Many apprenticeships lead to nationally recognised qualifications.
  • Employment Prospects: Apprenticeships often lead to a job offer from the employer once training is complete.

How to Establish an Apprenticeship Programme

  • Identify Needs: Assess the skills gaps and future workforce requirements in your company.
  • Develop a Plan: Outline the structure of the apprenticeship programme, including the duration, training components, and qualifications offered.
  • Partner with Educational Institutions: Collaborate with local colleges, vocational schools, and training providers to develop the academic portion of the programme.
  • Compliance: Ensure your programme meets legal and regulatory standards, including Apprenticeship agreements and wage requirements.

Recruiting Apprentices

  • Job Descriptions: Create clear and detailed job descriptions for the apprenticeship roles.
  • Outreach: Promote the programme through job boards, company website, social media, and educational institutions. This is where RNN Group’s Apprenticeship team can help!
  • Selection Process: Develop a fair and transparent selection process, including applications, interviews and assessments.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Implement strategies to attract a diverse pool of candidates.

Training and Mentorship

  • On-the-Job Training: Provide hands-on training that covers all necessary skills and tasks.
  • Mentorship: Assign experienced employees to mentor apprentices, offering guidance and support.
  • Academic Learning: Ensure apprentices complete the academic components of their training, either on-site or at partner institutions.
  • Feedback and Evaluation: Regularly assess apprentices’ progress and provide constructive feedback.

Managing Apprentices

  • Work Environment: Create a supportive and inclusive work environment for apprentices.
  • Regular Reviews: Conduct regular performance reviews to track progress and address any issues.
  • Development Opportunities: Offer additional training and development opportunities to help apprentices advance their skills.
  • Health and Safety: Ensure apprentices understand and comply with health and safety regulations.

Financial Considerations

  • Wages: Pay apprentices a fair wage that meets or exceeds minimum wage requirements.
  • Funding and Grants: Explore available government grants, subsidies and tax incentives to support your Apprenticeship programme.
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis: Assess the long-term benefits of developing skilled workers against the costs of the Apprenticeship programme.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

  • Contracts: Provide written contracts outlining wages, hours, training and working conditions.
  • Rights and Responsibilities: Ensure apprentices understand their rights and responsibilities.
  • Health and Safety: Maintain a safe working environment and comply with all relevant health and safety laws.
  • Certification: Ensure apprentices receive the necessary certifications or qualifications upon completing the programme.


  • Employment Opportunities: Offer successful apprentices full-time positions where possible.
  • Career Pathways: Provide clear career progression paths within your company.
  • Continued Development: Encourage ongoing professional development and training to help former apprentices advance in their careers.
  • Alumni Network: Maintain a network of former apprentices to foster ongoing engagement and mentorship opportunities.

Resources and Support

  • Government Resources: Utilise government websites and agencies that provide information on Apprenticeship programmes and support.
  • Industry Associations: Engage with trade associations and industry bodies for additional resources and networking opportunities.
  • Consultants and Advisors: Consider hiring consultants who specialise in Apprenticeship programmes to help design and implement your programme effectively.
  • RNN Group Webinars: RNN Group has a page of support publications as well as webinars on a guide to Apprenticeships, the induction of new apprentices, and end point assessments that employers can listen to in their own time.

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