Support your school to become a learning organisation for its own workforce through apprenticeships

How do apprenticeships help schools to manage their staffing and skills?  

Since the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in April 2017: 

  • The government estimate that almost 12,000 people have started an apprenticeship in a school in England.1  
  • Over 2,000 maintained schools across England have taken on at least one apprentice and hundreds more are exploring how to do the same using the apprenticeship levy. 
  • A Local Government Association review of school apprenticeships in 6 Local Authorities in 2018 found that 40% of schools with an apprentice have more than one – the benefits are long lasting.  

Thousands of schools are still missing out on an apprenticeship and the benefits they can offer to their school. From upskilling existing staff members to bringing young people into the organisation; from underpinning your retention strategy to developing succession plans, apprenticeships offer a huge opportunity to support your current and future workforce and develop the skills that the school needs most. 


1 Source: Public Sector Target Reporting figures for 19/20 and 18/19. The Government estimated there were 6,200 apprenticeship starts in schools in 19/20 and 5,600 in 18/19. 


What is an apprenticeship?

There are over 60 apprenticeships that match to a role typically found in a school, for roles at all levels.   

An apprenticeship is a training and assessment programme to help someone gain the knowledge, skills and experience that they need to become fully proficient in their job. It combines time at work conducting their day to day tasks and embedding what they learn, with structured development time to learn new skills.   

Apprenticeships can offer a solution to meeting the skills needs of staff in their current and future roles and provide a structured training route for new staff, whether this is a first role or the promotion of an experienced member of staff to take on new responsibilities.  

Apprenticeships offer short-term skills programme for some roles, with a minimum 12 month programme or might offer a longer term programme, up to 3-4 years for an apprenticeship at degree level. All apprenticeships are followed by an independent end point assessment to assess competency.  


Who can be an apprentice?

  • Anyone aged over 16 and employed by the school 
  • In a full or part-time role that may be permanent or a fixed term contract that allows time for the apprenticeship to be completed   
  • Apprentices can be existing staff or a new recruit  
  • They can work in roles at any level from entry level or first job to senior & strategic professional ad leadership roles  
  • They can work in over 60 occupations or roles that match to an apprenticeship  
  • They may be someone with existing qualifications (including degrees) or someone without any as yet 
  • They may be newly promoted  temporarily or permanently or looking to develop new skills or extend existing ones  


How can an apprenticeship help my school?

Like any organisation schools have a cycle of staff recruitment and training needs, whether this is to fill vacancies or to train new staff, or to grow the skills of the existing team. Using a workforce plan every year and thinking through the impact of the School Development Plan on staff helps to prepare in good time for changes and create a culture of investing in skills and placing value on keeping skills up to date.  

The most common benefits cited by Head Teachers for using an apprenticeship are set out below : 

  • RECRUIT & REPLACE - attracting a wider more diverse applicants with the support of training and often a recognised qualification, and using apprenticeships to plan for sucession  
  • RETRAIN & REFRESH   - keeping people's skills up to date, creating new interest in roles and preparing people for promotion and their longer-term career - positive motivation for staff and  
  • RETAIN & DEVELOP- keeping key staff in their role through investing in their skills, using training to expand people's role or prepare them for a new role helps retain staff in school and shows a development culture   

How do I pay for an apprenticeship?

If you are a maintained school you have been paying the apprenticeship levy ( 0.5% of your monthly staffing budget) since 2017 through your Local Authority. You can access some or all of this funding to pay for your apprenticeship training and assessment through the council apprenticeship team. 

For schools who don’t pay the Levy you may be able to access full funding to pay for the training and assessment in an apprenticeship, and if you can’t access full funding you will only pay 5% of the training and assessment costs.  

The school is responsible for the wages ( which must be national minimum wage for the age of the apprentice at least) and other costs associated with any member of staff.  

Depending on the age of the apprentice or their circumstances, schools may be able to access an incentive payment for their apprenticeship of £1000.  


For further information

There are lots of helpful sources of information for Head Teachers and key support staff in schools to support their investigations towards producing their own schools plan.   

Maintained schools should ask their Local Authority for more information:  

Other schools can contact Growth Works with Skills. 

This information is provided in partnership with the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC). For more information about CEC Careers Hubs please visit the Careers Hub Provider Access Policy.