Practices will soon be able to offer exciting new apprenticeships in dental nursing and dental practice management, as part of the reformed Government’s Trailblazer initiative phase one, two and three.
There are government funding and grants available to employers interested in getting involved. The national minimum wage for apprenticeships is also currently just £2.73 for young people aged between 16-18 years old, so employing an apprentice could be a cost effective way of building up your business.
If you are considering taking on an apprentice aged 19 or over they would need to be paid at least the minimum wage for their age.
Apprentices must be paid for their normal working hours (minimum of 30 hours per week) and training that is part of the apprenticeship (usually one day a week).
With regards to holiday, individuals are entitled to at least 20 days of paid holiday per year, plus bank holidays (www.gov.uk, 2014).
Government funding is available to businesses for the training of apprentices and is currently based on the Funding Rules 2013/2014 Version 3. The amount of funding obtainable depends on the job role, the age of the apprentice, whether they meet certain eligible criteria and present government priorities:
- Currently 16-18-year-olds are high priority and full funding is available (up to advanced level) as long as it is needed to support learning
- For 19-23-year-olds, employers are expected to contribute around 50% of their training fees
- For apprentices 24-years-old and over, government support is lower and may not be available at all. This does not mean you should not consider taking on an older apprentice, it simply reflects the availability of public funding.
Funding is paid out monthly and is attached to each element or qualification within the framework rather than the apprenticeship as a whole (www.apprenticeships.org.uk, 2014). A percentage of the funding for the competence element of the apprenticeship is ‘held back’ and paid upon completion of the entire programme. Training providers may manage apprenticeship funding on your behalf, however additional support will also be available through your National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) account manager.
Regarding training delivery, there are a number of pathways to choose from. Localised approaches that involve the organisation and delivery by a training provider are ideal for small businesses with specific, localised training needs. For larger employers a corporate approach may be more suitable and colleges and/or training providers can be enlisted to deliver the programme on their behalf. Alternatively, if employers choose to take an in-house approach, they may deliver the whole apprenticeship themselves or sub-contract specific elements to a provider or providers.
In addition to the government funding available for training, practices may be entitled to apply for an apprenticeship grant for employers of 16 to 24-year-olds. This grant is worth £1,500 per apprentice and is available from the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS). For practices to be eligible to apply they must not have taken on an apprentice in the past 12 months, have no more than 1,000 employees and be looking to take on an apprentice or apprentices aged between 16 to 24-years-old (www.apprenticeships.org.uk, 2014).
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For additional information from the National Apprenticeship Service, please visit www.apprenticeship.org.uk.