Apprenticeships – what do I need to know?

News on 07 February 2020

What do I pay my apprentices?

Apprentices are entitled to Apprentice Rate if they are either:

  • Under 19; or
  • 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship.


Apprentice Rate

April 2019 (current)


April 2020


 For example, if you’ve got an apprentice that is 21 years old, in their first year of their apprenticeship, their rate of pay would be £3.90 (soon to be £4.15 from the 1st April 2020).

My apprentice doesn’t match those requirements. How much do I have to pay per hour?

Apprentices over 19, who have completed the first year of their apprenticeship are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.

If you have an apprentice who is 25 and has completed their first year of their apprenticeship, they are entitled to a minimum hourly rate of £8.21 (or £8.72 if after 1st April 2020) from their second year.

Do I have to pay wages whilst the apprentice is attending college on day release?

Want the short answer? Yes, they are entitled to their normal rate of pay.

You must pay your apprentice for time spent training or studying for their apprenticeship, whether they are at work, at college, or at a training organisation.

Does the apprentice accrue annual leave for the time spent at college?

Yep. Just the same as pay, they will also accrue holidays on their training/college days.

During college holiday period can I get the apprentice to work a full working week?

Yes. If their college / training organisation is closed for the holidays, you can expect them to come to work.

What happens if the apprentice does not complete college coursework or does not pass all the exams?

Your apprentice may just need a little extra help. Try to support them as much as you can. You need to meet with them regularly to ensure that they know what they are doing, that they understand what is required of them, and if they need any further help.

However, if the apprentice is consistently failing to attend the course, or to progress to a satisfactory standard through the course, then you should review the situation carefully with the apprentice’s training provider.

Continued failure to attend or to make satisfactory progress may lead to your apprentice’s employment being terminated early.

What other rights do apprentices have?

You must offer apprentices the same conditions as other employees working at similar grades or in similar roles. This includes:

  • paid holidays
  • sick pay
  • Pension (if eligible)
  • any benefits you offer such as childcare voucher schemes
  • any support you offer such as coaching or mentoring

What happens at the end of the apprenticeship? Do I have to promise them a job?

Hopefully your apprentice has done well and has enjoyed gaining valuable experience and has now become fully qualified.

You don’t have to promise them a job. But you can offer them a job with you if you have one available. Bear in mind that they don’t have to accept the job you’ve offered them – they could go elsewhere.


Want to learn more about apprenticeships? Click here to read about recruiting apprentices, or click here to find out how to manage an apprentice.