Apprenticeships for SMEs

Apprenticeships offer SMEs a cost-effective solution for building a future workforce, creating teams with a broad skillset and retaining staff. All of our training is 100% or 95% funded and there are additional financial incentives for recruiting new apprentices.

Kat Shawcross  | Business Development Manager

Many of the employers we work with are small, non levy organisations. With nearly all training costs covered by government funding and additional grants available, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can benefit greatly from apprenticeship training programmes. They can:

  • Enable you to delegate administrative tasks, freeing up time for business development and delivery
  • Enable you to respond to customers more quickly and efficiently
  • Allow you to recruit talented young people and "grow" them, far more cost effectively and at lower risk than a lateral hire

But we know that if you are running a small business, you won't have time to deal with bureaucracy and lots of paperwork.

That is why, as your training provider, we make the process as simple as possible. We meet you at no cost and, if we agree that we can add value to your business, will send you a simple engagement letter that sets out clearly what we are going to do. We will then manage the rest of the process for you: advertising vacancies, filtering candidates, enrolling the apprentice and delivering the training. The coach and your account manager will keep you in the loop all the way through, updating you on the apprentice's progress.

Call our business development department on 0161 480 8171 or email us at We are always happy to meet you, without obligation, to run through your staff development and apprenticeship recruitment needs.

For more information about how a successful SME apprenticeship programme works, please see a recording of our webinar on SME apprenticeships.

Small Business Overview

The aim of all apprenticeship training is to deliver someone who, at the end of their apprenticeship, is really good at their job; they are a competent colleague. It's not the same as sending someone on a course who comes back with some knowledge that they may or may not apply in practice. It is about developing an apprentice who has the right skills, knowledge and behaviours for the role and your business, and can deliver these consistently.

Apprenticeships are a mixture of a job with training. They all last at least a year but for more complex job roles, they can last longer, up to two or three years. There are different levels of apprenticeships that correspond to the complexity of the job role. Most apprenticeships are at intermediate or advanced level, but increasingly there are higher level and even degree level apprenticeship options.

All apprenticeship training has a blend of training and assessment and these two aspects complement each other. The training element ensures that the apprentice has the skills, knowledge and behaviours required. The assessment is to ensure that the apprentice is using these in the workplace to the required standard. Delivery varies between apprenticeships but generally speaking there is a blended learning approach with a balance of online learning resources and one-to-one or group interaction with a coach. 

How do you take on an apprentice?

All apprenticeships are government approved training standards. There are hundreds in existence which cover all industries and sectors. Once you know the sort of apprenticeship you want, you can search for training providers which deliver those qualifications in your geographical area. For example, Damar Training offer apprenticeships in accounting, customer service, law, management, medical admin and travel across England. For guidance on how to choose a training provider and the right apprenticeship standard, please see our article on small and medium sized business recruitment.

How much do the government pay towards apprenticeships?

Employers that do not pay the levy contribute just 5% of the training cost, with the government paying the balance. For employers with fewer than 50 employees, the 5% contribution is waived if the apprentice is aged between 16 and 18 years old.

In addition to the government contributing 95% or 100% of the apprenticeship training costs, there are currently a range of incentives for recruiting apprentices which you can read about on our Employer Incentives page.

Why do SMEs hire apprentices?

Extensive government research has shown that small and medium businesses can benefit greatly from apprenticeship training. They increase productivity through improvements to products and services, increase employee loyalty and retention, introduce new skills and creativity and even help win new business.

Apprenticeship Vacancies

See our latest apprenticeship vacancies and apply online.

Get in touch

We are always happy to meet you, without obligation, to run through your staff development and recruitment needs.

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