What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are training programmes that combine workplace experience with off the job learning. They are a great way to develop relevant skills for a new employee or improve your existing workforce. The apprentice will be learning and gaining experience 'on the job' alongside off the job activities, such as assessments, research, personal reflection and more formal classroom activities. The requirement is that the apprenticeship is split 80% on the job and 20 % off the job training.

As an employer, you can become involved in apprenticeships by:

  • Recruiting an Apprentice
  • Up-skilling Existing Employees

The apprentice usually studies for a nationally recognised qualification at the same time as being employed for a minimum of one year and will be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for Apprentices for the duration of your apprenticeship programme. Existing staff can continue at their current salary and in their current position provided there is the capacity to learn the new skills required and that they are given the 20% off the job training.

Apprenticeships in the NHS cover both clinical and non-clinical qualifications and must meet nationally set standards. Apprenticeships cover all levels of study up to Masters (7) level. 


- SME Businesses (some General Practices)

If your annual wage or pay bill is less than £3 million, you will have to make a small financial contribution (currently 5%) towards the training costs of your apprentice. The Government will pick up the remaining 95%. An alternative is to receive gifting from a larger business classified as a Levy paying organisation (see below). Gifting can cover 100% of the course costs. The employer then is just liable for the salary. 

- Large Businesses

If your annual wage or pay bill is more than £3 million, you will be required by Government to invest as an Apprenticeship Levy. This will be collected by HMRC and kept in a digital account for you to use to pay for your apprentices’ training costs. This account can only be used to pay for the apprentices’ training costs and not for their salary or other employment costs. If you are unable to make full use of your Levy pot this can be gifted to other partners/organisations. If your Levy pot is insufficient to cover all the apprenticeships you require you can also receive gifting from another organisation. 

          - Additional Government incentives

Government incentives are available for both non-Levy and Levy paying employers and vary depending on Government priority areas. You can keep up to date with incentive schemes on Skills Funding Agency’s guidance documents.

What is an Apprenticeship Levy?

All employers with a pay bill of over £3million per year must pay 0.5% of the total into a digital account. For ELFT this is £1.25 million. This gets taken from the trust in monthly instalments over the year.

What can we use the levy money for?

You can only spend levy money on 2 things

1. To pay for the cost of the apprenticeship training programme. The money is paid from the digital account directly to an
approved training provider/college/university. It is split and paid out monthly for the duration of the learner's programme.
2. To pay for the end assessment/exam (If there is one)

Both the programme and assessment have government-imposed funding gaps


Helpful Links and Documentation for the digital apprenticeship service (DAS)

Other resources on the Skills for Health Healthcare Apprenticeships site - Click here

Levy and Non-Levy Support is available from the Training Hub so please do get in touch.

There are many career pathways within Healthcare. Apprenticeships can be the best way to learn, experience and achieve the rewarding job you desire; so with training and support in the environment that you wish to progress, an apprenticeship is a good option.

Nursing Associate Apprenticeship Programme - The Open University October 2023 intake applications

As you may already know, Health Education England (HEE) and the Open University (OU) have agreed to continue their partnership to support their ambitions for Nursing Associates in primary care. In order to support Primary Care employers (e.g. GP practices, Federations, PCNs), HEE and the OU have agreed a process which will help ensure the information is available, support available and pathway clear.

As part of this process, we are asking employers (and other stakeholder organisations) who wish to enrol a member of staff onto the OU Nursing Associate apprenticeship programme for October 2023 to first listen to a pre-recorded webinar (link is pasted below) which will give them detailed information on the programme, the apprenticeship funding, application process, HEE support, placements and other due diligence requirements.

Pre-recorded webinar:

YouTube video

The pre-recorded webinar also includes the next steps the employer needs to take and who to contact at HEE should they wish to be considered for the OU October cohort.