Setting up an apprenticeship is easier than you think, however there is still a lot to consider.

This set of easy-to-follow steps is intended to guide you through the process from start to finish, and ensure that it runs as smoothly as possible.

Conduct initial research and make decisions

Questions to consider include:

  • What do you need from your department, both in the short and long term?
  • What kinds of jobs could the apprentice help with in the first year or two that may currently be outsourced or given to agency staff?
  • Have there been increasing difficulties in recruitment of fully qualified staff?
    Do you have any staff who would welcome the opportunity to progress?

Make sure you are as informed as possible from the outset about any relevant considerations or information that may affect your hiring of an apprentice.

Make contact with your Human Resources (HR) department for more detailed information on those policies specific to your department.

Questions to ask them include:

  • Is there a recruitment freeze in place at the moment?
  • How can I make the case for recruitment and what would be good to include in that?
  • What is the list of benefits offered to all staff members? (This will help with creating the job advert)
  • How will the apprentice salary be determined?

Creating a compelling case will help you to gain buy-in from the wider business for setting up an apprenticeship. We have put together some top tips for building a successful business case.

Connecting with your nearest course provider is also a good start. They can help you with any additional questions, tell you more about their course and availability for the coming year, and may already have people looking for apprenticeships who would be a great fit for your business. It’s a good idea to do this with as much notice as possible to secure your candidate’s place on the next intake.

This important decision will depend on the people you have within your organisation and who you may want to develop, but also on the financial situation of your department or directorate. If there is a recruitment freeze, your only option may be to develop someone already employed.

Start the preparation and recruitment process

Once you are ready to proceed, your recruitment schedule will need to line up with the start of a course. The academic year starts generally around late September or early October which means that to allow an apprentice to register for a course, selection needs to be late August as a realistic start date. Some universities offer a staggered start so there is a second intake midway through the year, so please do check with the course provider.

You will need to create your advert and share it through your recruitment channels. We have created some sample templates to make this easier and can also help with free advertising. Read our blog by Wane Pobi which gives some useful tips on a successful recruitment process for apprentices.

To assist with the selection process, you could invite someone from your chosen university to participate, as well as having another apprentice from within the business (if available) on the panel to help them feel more at ease.

Having successfully appointed your chosen candidate, you will need to set a start date as well as coordinating their inductions and any other necessary processes as you normally would for any other new member of staff.

You will need to consider how the new apprentice will fit into your team, their role and responsibilities, and how to coordinate their study and work for their first year. Your course provider should be able to help you with this.

90 days into the apprenticeship

To help the apprentice settle in, it's a good idea to have an informal session with them to find out how they are enjoying the course and progressing. You will also want to find out how they are coping with their work/study balance and if their work plan needs review or updating.

In addition to checking in with the apprentice, it is also useful to get some feedback from the course provider to find out how your apprentice is progressing, and if any additional support is required with either their work or study.

You will need to ensure your HR or finance department has collected the apprentice/new recruit incentive from the government.

365 days into the apprenticeship

Now that the apprentice has been placed for a year, it is a good opportunity to reflect on progress so far and start to plan ahead for the next twelve months. This is a chance to share feedback and any learnings that have arisen both for the apprentice and the organisation

You will need to ensure your HR or finance department collects the remainder of the apprenticeship incentive from the government. You will also need to check whether a higher minimum wage should be paid to the apprentice.

Reaching step 16 will mark the end of the first year with your new environmental health apprentice. At this stage, we hope that their presence has been of great benefit to your team and organisation, and they are beginning to develop into one of the passionate future leaders of the profession.

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