Employing an apprentice

Apprenticeships provide the skilled workers that employers need for the future. Apprentices work alongside experienced employees to gain on the job skills, while getting outside training from an approved college or training provider. You cover their wages and Welsh Government offers support with some of the training costs.

Apprentices will earn while they learn and work towards nationally recognised qualifications at 1 of 3 levels - Foundation Apprenticeship (Level 2), Apprenticeship (Level 3) or Higher Apprenticeship at Level 4.

Higher Apprenticeships at Level 4 and beyond means that we can develop stronger and deeper skills among our existing workforce. It also provides employers with the skilled staff they need to boost productivity, innovation and overall business performance.

Apprentices are aged 16 or over and combine working with studying to gain skills and knowledge in a specific job.
Apprentices can be new or current employees.
You can get government funding to cover some of the cost of training and assessing an apprentice if you’re in Wales.
You must pay the apprentice at least the minimum wage.
Your apprentice must:

  • work with experienced staff
  • learn job-specific skills
  • study during their working week (for example, at a college or training organisation).

Apprenticeship Small Business Employer Incentive Programme

This provides support for SMEs to recruit apprentices aged 16-19, helping to provide individuals and employers with the skills needed over the long-term and prevent skills shortages.


  • The incentive is only available to SMEs who are new to apprenticeships or have not recruited an apprentice in the last 30 months
  • Support will be offered to a maximum of three apprentices per employer
  • Support will be available irrespective of the level of the apprenticeship
  • To offer a payment of £3,500 (per learner) for apprentices recruited during the periods of July-September or January - March, and a payment of £2,500 (per learner) for apprentices recruited at all other times of the year
  • The full payment will be made after the apprentice has been employed for 8 months.

Hiring your apprentice

There are several steps to taking on an apprentice.

  1. Choose an apprenticeships framework or standard for an apprenticeship in your industry and at a suitable level. Priority Sectors and Frameworks
  2. Find an organisation that offers training for the apprenticeship framework or standard you’ve chosen.
  3. Check what funding is available.
  4. Advertise your apprenticeship - your training organisation can assist with this through the Apprenticeship Matching Service.
  5. Select your apprentice and make an apprenticeship agreement with them.

To find out more about employing apprentices and the Apprenticeship Small Business Employer Incentive Programme, complete the Expression of Interest form

How long it lasts

Apprenticeships must last for at least a year. They can last up to 5 years depending on the level the apprentice is studying.