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The Employers Apprenticeship Guide [Construction Edition]
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The Employers Apprenticeship Guide [Construction Edition]

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At Saint Ambassador, we appreciate that apprentices are the future of the Construction Industry and together with our Partners and Ambassadors we want to support new apprentices coming into the industry. We are committed to helping the next generation and want to offer a free resource to the employers of the Construction Industry with ‘The Employers Apprenticeship Guide’. ​​The construction industry needs an extra 217,000 workers over the next 5 years to ensure the industry can continue to thrive.

For the Construction Industry, the CITB is a very good place to have ongoing support, access to funding and grants which we will mention in more detail below.

Firstly, What Is An Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a job allowing individuals to earn while they learn, gaining trade insights, valuable skills and tricks of the trade. Apprentices are required to spend at least 20% of their time on off-the-job training which may include regular day release, block release, special training days or workshops. It can cover practical training such as shadowing, mentoring, industry visits or attending competitions (Off-the job examples can be found here). 

On-the-job training helps an apprentice develop and gain specific skills for the industry and should be supported by the mentor throughout.

Benefits Of Hiring An Apprentice

Working with apprentices can be incredibly rewarding and can be an effective way to grow your business plus at the same time developing a motivated and skilled workforce.

Apprentices can:

  • Increase productivity as you have more members involved
  • Improve the quality of work as mentors want to teach apprentices correctly
  • Increases employee satisfaction 
  • Free up your time
  • Reduce recruitment costs
  • Can train them tailored to your business reducing skill shortages

Ultimately, apprentices are the future of construction so by supporting apprentices you are also having an impact on the future of construction.


When you employ an apprentice you are given some extra responsibilities you need to be aware of and at the very least you need to:

  1. Pay the apprentice at least the national minimum wage
  1. Provide at least 16 hours of paid work a work
  1. Offer the apprentice the opportunity to work with experience staff to learn job specific skills and study for a work-place qualification during their working week
  1. Pay the apprentice for time spent training or studying for a relevant qualification, whether at work, college or training organisation
  1. Take the apprentice on for a minimum of 12 months (unless using an Apprenticeship Training Agency).
  1. Offer the apprentice the same conditions and benefits as your other employees who have similar roles/qualifications
  1. Sign an Apprenticeship Agreement between yourself and the apprentice (unless you’re using an Apprenticeship Training Agency)

We would recommend going through an Apprenticeship Training Agency as it removes a lot of the risk involved when working with an apprentice.

CITB (The Construction Industry Training Board) 

The CITB is the industry training board for the construction industry in the UK. CITB is one of the largest providers of apprentices for the construction industry and is the main training provider for the construction industry in the UK. It is required by law for all construction employers to fill out the levy, but you may have not been signed up by CITB researchers if you don’t take up more than 50% of your time in construction or if you don't fall in to scope

How To Find And Recruit An Apprentice

The CITB is one of the easiest ways to go about finding an apprentice, the first step is to register your vacancy online by completing the CITB form. By filling in the form you’re not committed to taking on an apprentice and CITB have Customer Engagement Advisors who can walk you through the process.

The CITB will provide you with any suitable applicants and you can choose the right apprentice for your business. Once decided, an Apprenticeship Officer will be in touch to help complete any paperwork and make sure Health & Safety Checks are in place to meet the requirement of taking an apprentice on. 

Types of apprenticeships offered by CITB

Traditional Apprenticeships 

This combines studying at college (or training provider) with experience on site over a 2 - 3 year period. This is the most common way to get qualified in the UK.

As an employer you may be able to claim CITB Grants of up to £10,250 to support you through the apprentices journey.

Specialist Applied-skills Programmes (SAP)

SAPs are an apprenticeship into a specialist section of construction developed through partnerships with trade associations, federations and employers in specialist sectors.

New apprentices must have a full time employment with a Levy registered employer. They have to be 16+ with no upper age limit.

Shared Apprenticeship Scheme (SAS)

The SAS is a new approach to training and promises more opportunities for people and businesses in construction. Apprentices get a variety of on-site experience by working on high-profile projects for more than one employer, as well as completing a full Level 3 Apprenticeship.

CITB Grants & Funding

The CITB supports the construction by offering grants and funding opportunities. The CITB grants support employers by contributing to the cost of training and qualifying your employees in construction-related subjects. The CITB funding is for specific training projects relating to the development of employees within the industry.

CITB Grants Scheme

The CITB Grant Scheme is available to all eligible employers who are registered with the CITB and are up to date with their Levy Returns. Grants cannot be paid to individual employees. 

If the CITB are your Apprenticeship provider you need to provide the correct paperwork within 20 weeks of the start of the Apprenticeship, the CITB will start making your grant payments, backdated to the start date. (The CITB can still help if they are not your Apprenticeship Provider).

Grants are available to for:

  1. Directly employed Level 2 and 3 Apprenticeships - you can apply for £2500 per year for attendance and £3500 for achievement
  1. Directly employed higher apprenticeships such as approved higher, degree and graduate apprenticeships at Level 4 and above - you can apply £2500 per year for attendance (up to 6 years) and £3500 for achievement

The attendance grant will be paid automatically every 13 weeks. To receive the achievement grant you should authorise the grants within 3 months of its issue. While you receive an Apprenticeship grant you can’t apply for any other grants for the same apprentice, except for short course achievements which are necessary, appropriate and not included within the Apprenticeship.

​​Skills and Training fund

The Skills and Training fund aims to help small and micro construction companies to deliver high quality learning and development experiences to employees however it can be more difficult to receive with reduction in budget.

Employers can apply for funding related to how many employees you have:

  • 1 to 49 employed staff can receive up to £5000.
  • 50 to 74 employed staff can receive up to £7500.
  • 75 to 99 employed staff can receive up to £10000.


Long Period Qualifications - Grants for approved higher level qualifications which take more than 1 year to complete - £1125 per years for attendance (up to 6 years) and £1875 for achievement 

Higher level qualifications include:

  • Higher National Certificates and Diplomas (HNCs and HNDs)
  • Degrees
  • Post-graduate qualifications

​​An application form will need to be sent within 20 weeks of the course start date.

Short Period Qualifications - Grants for the achievement of approved short-period qualifications at Level 2 or above which take less than 1 year to complete.

This includes:

  • NVQ at Levels 2 and above and SCQF at Levels 5 and above
  • The NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety
  • Plant-related vocational qualification (VQ) achievements
  • Specific plant-related VQ units

You can apply for £600 per achievement for approved full qualifications (up to 4 achievements at each level per person). Within the maximum of four achievements at Level 2, you can apply for a maximum of three plant related VQ units per individual at £300 each

If you are eligible for grants, your Apprenticeship Officer will provide you with information on how grant funding of up to £14,500 for training should be applied for and how and when it will be paid.

Short Duration Achievements

Short Duration Training - Grants for the achievement of approved short courses, which last from 3 hours to 29 days. 

CITB pays grants at three tiered rates. The tier is determined by the duration and content of the course:

  • Tier 1 is £30
  • Tier 2 is £70
  • Tier 3 is £120

You can find out which grant tier a course has from the approved course list.

Refresher training grants are available for updating knowledge in a shorter duration training course than the full course. You can apply for £15 (Tier 1) £35 (Tier 2) £60 (Tier 3) per refresher course

The number of courses is capped, you can see your individual cap by logging into your CITB online account here. 

Plant Test Achievements - Grants for the achievement of approved Technical Tests (currently Construction Plant Competency Scheme (CPCS) only).

You can apply for £60 for passing the theory element, up to a maximum of 2 per person, per year

You can apply for £190 (Tier 1) £240 (Tier 2) £410 (Tier 3) for passing the practical element depending on the category of plant, up to a maximum of 2 per person, per year (only available once per lifetime for each candidate, and not available for renewal/refresher tests, on site assessments, shortened tests or transition assessments).

Travel and accommodation funding ‘Travel to Train’ 

CITB will fund 80% of accommodation costs for apprentices who attend colleges or training providers where overnight stays and travel to and from a hotel to a place of training are required (has to be booked 28 days in advance). 

The funding for Apprenticeship travel and accommodation covers:

  • 80% of accommodation and subsistence costs for apprentices staying away for block training. The employer will be required to pay 20% of the total cost
  • Travel claims will only be paid where the cost of travel for the Apprentice exceeds £30 per week and only the excess amount will be claimable.

Additional Funding Which May Be Available From The Government 

The Government’s Plan for Jobs update includes an extension to the apprenticeship funding programme. The deadline for these employer incentives have been extended to the end of January 2022 and allow employers to claim £3,000 for each new apprentice they recruit - The £3,000 can be claimed in addition to the normal £1,000 received for taking on an apprentice! Find out more here

When hiring apprentices, employers are not required to pay National Insurance Contributions for apprentices under 25 on earnings below £827 a week (£43,000 a year) saving 13.8% on the apprentices wage.

In addition a £1,000 payment is made by the Government to both the employer and provider when they train a 16-18 year old. A £1,000 payment can also be received for a 19-24 year old who has previously been in care or who has a local authority education, health and care plan.

If you are a Non-Levy Apprenticeship payer (an employer with a wage bill under £3 million) you can receive additional Government support for the apprentices training and assessment cost. As an employer you will only be required to make a 5% contribution to the cost. The Government will pay the rest (95%) up to the funding band maximum, which will be paid directly to the training provider.

The Apprenticeship Service

The Apprenticeship Service is an Account through GOV.UK where employers can manage their apprenticeship programme, giving you control over your apprenticeships and account for funds.

The Apprenticeship Service can estimate your apprenticeship funding allowing you to calculate whether the apprenticeship levy or not and how much you have available to spend on apprenticeships. It will show how much the government will contribute to the training and assessment costs of your apprentices.

It is also a platform for employers to find information about training, standards, frameworks and you can compare one training provider to another. There are plans to allow employers to recruit apprentices through the platform managing applications for apprenticeships.

If you need any advice on apprenticeships or CITB contact your Saint Business Advisor or CITB for more information.

Frequently asked questions

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This article has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the provided content.

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The Employers Apprenticeship Guide [Construction Edition]

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