Apprenticeship recruitment

We can help you to recruit an apprentice and support you throughout the apprenticeship.

Schools across Oxfordshire are experiencing the benefits of offering apprenticeship opportunities to young people in a wide variety of roles. From early years and teaching assistants to business administration and ICT support, apprentices are making a valuable contribution in school settings.

If your school contributes to the Oxfordshire County Council Apprenticeship Levy, formal training can be funded via the Levy.

The Department for Education has released A guide to apprenticeships in the schools workforce, which is aimed at school leaders, governing bodies, local authorities and academy trusts. It explains:

  • what apprenticeships are
  • how schools can use apprenticeships
  • how the apprenticeship levy applies to schools
  • how the public sector apprenticeship target applies to schools.

Who can be an apprentice?

An apprentice is an individual who undertakes a formal training programme in a work-based environment. The training programme must be recognised as an Apprenticeship Standard and be delivered by an approved apprenticeship training provider. The individual undertaking the apprenticeship will need to meet the following eligibility criteria to qualify for funding:

  • Over 16 years of age
  • Has lived in UK/EU for past three years
  • Is not in full time education
  • Must have a contract of employment (term-time only is usually possible for roles based in schools)

Further criteria may be applicable depending on the type of apprenticeship. The training provider will be able to advise you about this.

What do apprentices get paid?

Apprenticeships are entry-level posts with an expectation that skills and knowledge will be developed on the job and through training. The council has a special trainee grade for intermediate (Level 2) apprenticeships. After 12 months, this rises to the lowest point of the green book pay scales (Grade 1). This timescale is not altered if a candidate works part time or term time only, it must be 12 months after the apprentice’s start date to comply with national minimum wage legislation.

Current entry-level apprentice pay rates can be found on the schools pay information page.

Advanced (Level 3) apprenticeship roles are job evaluated and usually paid at a Grade 3. All maintained schools using the council’s Green Book terms and conditions for non-teaching staff should use these rates.

Please note that external training providers such as local FE colleges and the National Schools Apprenticeship Service may quote the national apprentice minimum wage in their promotional materials, which is much lower than the council’s apprentice wage. It is not possible to pay apprentices this rate if they work for a school where the council is the employer. 

Who pays?

The salary of the apprentice is funded and paid by the school employing them.

If the school pays the Apprenticeship Levy, apprenticeship training costs can be fully funded from the Levy. If the Levy has already been spent, the government funds 90% of the cost of the training.

If the school does not pay the Levy (usually the case for smaller academies, voluntary aided or foundation schools with a payroll bill of less than £3 million), then the government funds 90% of the cost of the training.

Minimum and maximum working hours

The majority of the council's apprentices are on full time contracts, 37 hours a week. It is possible to offer apprenticeships on a part-time basis but before agreeing this, practicalities should be discussed in advance with the training provider, for example there may be specific days of the week that the provider delivers classroom training. Time off for training, either for college day-release or for formal work-based assessments is included in the apprentice's paid contracted hours.

Time off for training

Apprentices need to evidence 20% time of their contracted hours is spent on learning new skills. The training provider will advise on the 20% requirements and whether the apprenticeship training requires day-release for attendance at college, or whether it can be delivered in the workplace setting. Their learning, under close supervision whilst working, is also recognised as an important part of their development.

How can I find a training provider?

Where the local authority is the employer, schools can access Levy funds via the council’s HR team. The HR team will help to identify a training provider from our approved supplier list and provide guidance on recruitment (if applicable).

Oxfordshire Apprenticeships helps employers across Oxfordshire get started. They will help you find the right Apprenticeship Standard and training provider to match your needs.

Important: recording apprentices in IBC self-service

Setting up an apprentice

Apprenticeships offer new and existing staff high-quality training, enabling them to gain professional qualifications while learning on-the-job.

Apprenticeships aren’t just for young people or new staff. Any member of staff can ask to take part, but often apprentices are new members of staff who are appointed on fixed term contracts and they join schools to undertake apprenticeship training.

Existing members of staff

If an existing member of staff starts an apprenticeship this is treated like any other training programme and their contract of employment stays the same. The only information that needs to be recorded in self-service is the apprenticeship training start and end dates.

In IBC self-service go to:

  • 'My team' and find the member of staff who is undertaking the apprenticeship
  • In the 'employment details' section choose 'Manage apprentices' and fill in the start and anticipated end date. The end date may change, and you should update this information if it does.

New staff appointed as an apprentice

If you’ve recruited a new member of staff as an apprentice, they will be on a fixed term contract.

The start and end dates of the fixed term contract will usually be different to the start and end dates for their apprenticeship training.

When the new apprentice has enrolled with the training provider, it’s important you record the start and end dates of the apprenticeship training in self-service using ‘Manage apprentices’. Go to:

  • 'My team' and find the member of staff who is undertaking the apprenticeship
  • In the 'employment details' section choose 'Manage apprentices' and fill in the start and anticipated end date. The end date may change, and you should update this information if it does.

More questions

If you're thinking of taking on an apprentice but aren't sure how to get started, email We support the recruitment of apprentices for the council and can advise you about a suitable job description and possible training options. Once a job description has been finalised and a training provider sourced, the recruitment process follows the IBC route, as with other posts.