• Apprenticeships

Your guide to apprenticeships

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes, which combine training at college with practical skills learnt in the workplace. An apprenticeship can take between one to five years to complete depending on the level. There is no upper age limit – as long as you are over 16 and the right credentials, you will be eligible for your chosen apprenticeship.

We provide a wide range of apprenticeships in the following areas:

  • Business, Accounting and Customer Service
  • Computing and IT
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Hair and Beauty
  • Hospitality and Catering
  • Motor Vehicle

We have excellent contacts with employers, so can help you find an apprenticeship job to suit your career goals, no matter what industry you wish to work in.

What levels are there?

Apprenticeships are available at various levels:

Benefits of an apprenticeship?

  • Earn money while you learn
  • Gain real workplace skills and experience
  • Achieve a nationally recognised qualification
  • Fit your study around employment
  • Improve you functional skills where needed – Maths, English and IT

For Employers

Hiring apprentices can help businesses to grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. Apprenticeships are available to businesses of all sizes and sectors in England, and can last anything from 12 months to 4 years. 

As an employer, you will be involved at every stage of the recruitment, planning and delivery of the training programme and many apprenticeship programmes can be adapted to suit the individual needs of your business.

How is the course funded?

For employers, there are two ways of accessing apprenticeship funding, dependant on the size of company:

  • Levy Payers (payroll in excess of £3m) via HMRC
  • SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) (payroll less than £3m) Micro SME (staff less than 50 employees)
  • Employer incentives available for recruiting from disadvantaged youths.

In order to be eligible for apprenticeship funding (paid to provider), apprentices must be employed on a normal contract of employment and employers must agree to 20% off the job training. Employees with contracts of more than 16 hours up to 30 hours are still eligible but the length of apprenticeship will vary dependant on the level and contracted hours.

For the latest information on what funding and grants may be available to you, please call our Business Services team on 01753 443855.

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

In April 2017 the Government changed the way Apprenticeships in England are funded. A new Apprenticeship Levy was implemented as a Payroll tax on UK employers, designed to support the creation and funding of three million Apprenticeships by 2020. 

The first levy payments were taken in April 2017 and are paid through Pay As You Earn (PAYE)

  • The rate for the levy is set at 0.5% of an employer’s entire salary pay bill paid to HMRC
  • Employers receive an allowance of £15,000 per tax year to offset against levy liability
  • Companies who pay the levy need to use the funds from their digital account within 24 months or they will lose the digital ‘training vouchers’ irrespective of paying the tax.

Employers with a salary bill less than £3 million per year (98% of employers nationally) won’t pay the levy but can still employ Apprentices or train existing staff on an Apprenticeship programme.

For more detailed information on the Apprenticeship Levy, please contact the college at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01753 443855.

What are the benefits for the employer?

86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation, while 78 per cent said apprenticeships improved productivity. (Source: Apprenticeship Evaluation 2017: Employers).

Other benefits that apprenticeships contribute towards include:

  • Increasing employee satisfaction
  • Reducing staff turnover
  • Reducing recruitment costs

What are your responsibilities as an employer?

There must be a genuine job available with a contract of employment long enough for an apprentice to complete their apprenticeship. Employers must pay an apprentice’s wages and the role must help them gain the knowledge, skills and behaviour they need to achieve the apprenticeship with support from the employer.

As with all staff, you will need to comply with all current Health and Safety Legislation, provide initial and ongoing health and safety training, and provide protective clothing (where necessary). You will also need to ensure that your apprentices are covered under Employer’s Liability Insurance.

The most successful apprentices are ones that have employers who encourage and support them in developing their knowledge and skills. Many employers allocate one member of the team to be a mentor for their apprentice.

Why work with us?

The Windsor Forest Colleges Group support the employer as well as the apprentice, to help businesses maximise the benefits of their apprenticeship scheme. We have over 40 years of experience in delivering high quality training to SMEs and multi-nationals in a wide range of industries, and even help organisations access funding and recruit apprentices. Our free apprentice matching service will ensure you find the right individual for your business.

We offer:

  • industry-experienced trainers
  • help accessing funding
  • a free apprentice matching service
  • training tailored to meet your needs
  • a dedicated account manager
  • sector-specific expertise
  • a dedicated Business Services team to support employers
  • high quality training – Ofsted has graded our apprenticeship provision as 'Good'

What is the next step?

If you are thinking about developing a current employee or taking on a new apprentice, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01753 443855 to talk to an adviser.

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