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There has never been a better time to take on an apprentice with support from CITB and the Government. The information below will tell you all you need to know about the process of hiring an apprentice, and how CITB can help you along the way.

An apprenticeship combines learning at a college or training provider with on-site experience to give apprentices the right mix of technical and practical skills to become a valuable and productive member of the team in any construction business.

Apprenticeships help future-proof the industry and provide an excellent way to secure a skilled, diverse future workforce.

What are apprenticeships?

An apprenticeship combines hands-on work with the opportunity to train and obtain qualifications. Apprentices’ time is typically split with 20% at a training provider – such as a college – and the remaining 80% spent with the employer.

At the end of it, the apprentice gains official certification, which will be equivalent to traditional qualifications. The employer gains a dedicated, enthusiastic worker at a fraction of the cost of a typical member of staff – and likely a new employee too as the majority of apprentices stay with their employer after their apprenticeship.

What are the different kinds of apprenticeships and training?

  • Modern - aimed at people aged 16 and over. They are the most common apprenticeship route, with over 37,000 apprentices currently enrolled
  • Graduate - allows apprentices to take their studies up to Master’s level. Two civil engineering and construction and the built environment courses are offered.

You can find out more about apprenticeships on Skills Development Scotland.

How to hire an apprentice

Finding and recruiting an apprentice can be simple – there’s six key steps: create a Skills Development Scotland Apprenticeships.Scot account, pick a programme, find a training provider, advertise, interview and hire your apprentice.

If you need further support, our New Entrant Support Team (NEST) are on hand to help you every step of the way.

Run by SDS, Apprenticeships.Scot is the digital hub to manage all aspects of your apprenticeship, including funding, finding apprenticeships and training providers, recruiting apprentices and more.

An apprenticeship framework sets out the skills, knowledge and behaviours required of apprentices. They also show what an apprentice will be doing in their day-to-day job role and how long the apprenticeship will be expected to last.

To choose a framework, think about which skills and training would be beneficial to your business, or particular areas you want to expand.

Apprenticeships.Scot have an interactive tool which allows you to choose the most relevant apprenticeship type and framework based on the needs of your business.

Once you’ve picked an apprenticeship, you need an organisation to deliver the off-the-job training.

The online portal shows you the different training providers available locally for your course.

Next, you’ll need to find the ideal candidate for your vacancy.

How to write an apprenticeship job advert

Before putting together an apprentice advert, here’s a few key things you’ll need to know:

  • The advert name - this must relate to the apprenticeship training and use the word ‘apprentice’ or ‘apprenticeship’
  • The training that the apprentice will take
  • Training provider that will deliver the training
  • Number of positions that are available
  • Your organisation’s name, address and location
  • The start date, application closing date and whether the job is disability confident
  • Skills and duties required of the apprentice
  • Duration of the apprenticeship and details of a typical working week
  • Wage you will offer
  • Any staff benefits, number of holidays, bank holidays or membership of bodies that you will offer the apprentice (e.g. Institute of Civil Engineers).

A great advert will promote your company and encourage the best people with the right skills and qualities to apply.

As well as the above, the key parts of an apprenticeship advert are the person specification and job description:

  • A person specification should include essential and desirable knowledge criteria, previous experience and the specific skills you're looking for in the successful candidate
  • A job description should include a job title, the main duties and purpose of the role, information about the company and the job location.

Download our apprenticeship advert template to get started

How to advertise your vacancy

You need to upload all of your apprenticeship vacancies via your Apprenticeships.Scot account.

You will have access to an interactive dashboard where you can manage vacancies, applications and contact individuals directly.

Your vacancy could be shared via SDS’s social media channels, featured on the Apprenticeships.Scot homepage and shared directly in schools and job centres by careers advisers.

While hiring an apprentice can be a relatively similar process to recruiting any other member of staff – the interviews can be quite different.

Traditional job interviews are all about evaluating interviewees’ experience, skills and pre-existing knowledge, whereas interviewing an apprentice is about understanding their potential.

When recruiting for an apprentice, it’s important to remember that this could be a candidate’s very first interview. You’ll need to take a flexible approach – focus on their enthusiasm and desire to learn, and whether their motivations and attitude aligns with your business.

With this in mind, here’s some example interview questions you could ask them:

  • Why have you chosen the apprenticeship route?
  • Why are you passionate about this job?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
  • What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
  • Apprenticeships are made up of a job and study, how would you manage your time?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Have you got any experience – either at work or school – in this type of role?
  • Describe a problem or challenge you’ve had to deal with
  • What do you understand about what we do here?

For more advice on interviewing and recruiting apprentices the right way, the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s Recruiting People, Fairly and Inclusively module tells you everything you need to know.

Once you’ve chosen the best person for your business, you’ll need to sign an apprentice agreement with them – which acts as a contract between the employer, training provider and apprentice.

This covers the length of employment, the training provided, their working conditions and the qualifications they will be working towards.

Financial support available to help

Apprenticeships are a fantastic financial investment. An employee who has recently completed an apprenticeship increases productivity in their business by an average of £214 per week.

Scottish employers – of all sizes – do not pay a penny to train or assess their apprentices.

The only thing you have to pay is the apprentice’s wage, which must be at least the National Minimum Wage for apprentices. There are generous grants available from CITB and Government to help you cover this.

CITB financial support

To receive CITB financial support, you must use an approved apprenticeship provider that has a direct contract with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and current approval with an appropriate awarding body, such as the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

Find an approved apprenticeship training provider.

All construction companies who are registered with CITB, even those who do not pay the Levy, are eligible to receive apprenticeship grants.

Each year, up to a maximum of three, you can claim an attendance grant of £2,500.

You can also claim achievement grants of £3,500 (a maximum of two achievements can be claimed) up to a maximum of £14,500 over a maximum of four years.

For example, a Level 6 bricklaying apprentice completing a 4-year craft apprenticeship is entitled to:

  • Three attendance grants totalling £7,500
  • Two achievement grants of £3,500 – one on achievement of their Professional Development Award (PDA) and one on completion of their apprenticeship – totalling £7,000.

You will receive £14,500 across the apprenticeship.

Or, a Level 5 interior systems installer apprentice completing a 2-year non-craft apprenticeship is entitled to:

  • Two attendance grants totalling £5,000
  • One achievement grant totalling £3,500.

You will receive £8,500 across the apprenticeship.

Check if your apprenticeship is eligible for CITB grants here.

How to apply for apprenticeship grants

Full information on the rules for this grant, how to apply and which apprenticeships are covered can be found here:

CITB apprentice grants

Travel to Train

Additional funding is also available if your apprentice needs to travel to complete their qualification. We 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.

Additionally, from 31 January 2022, all young people under the age of 22 are entitled to free bus travel across Scotland as part of the Free Bus Travel Scheme.

Travel to Train

Scottish Government financial support

Financial support from Government can help:

  • With recruitment costs
  • To pay for apprenticeship training and assessment
  • As an incentive payment for other costs.

Government incentives

To help businesses recruit apprentices, the Scottish Government offers additional funding to contribute towards the costs of training and assessing apprenticeships.

The levels of funding differ across the various types of apprenticeships - your Local Council will have an employability team to help you if you are eligible.

Modern apprenticeships

The level of Government funding for modern apprenticeships depends on the apprenticeship type, qualification level and age of the apprentice.

Funding is available for apprentices up to the age of 24, and 29 for those who are disabled or care-experienced. The funding is usually paid directly to your learning provider. However, age is not a barrier and CITB has apprentices in their 60s

Modern apprenticeship funding

Graduate apprenticeships

Graduate apprenticeship learning costs are now funded by Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS).

Funding covers the full duration of the programme. Graduate Apprentices will apply directly to SAAS for their funding  

Graduate apprenticeship funding

Adopt an apprentice

Adopt an Apprentice is a financial incentive for employers to take on an apprentice who has been made redundant through no fault of their own. 

As an employer, you’d take on either a Modern or Graduate Apprentice who would complete their apprenticeship while they work with you. 

To cover wage and recruitment costs, you will receive a grant of up to £5,000 – you will also benefit from hiring an already experienced employee.

Adopt an apprentice

Employer Recruitment Incentives (ERIs)

ERIs are designed to help people who find it harder to get a job – whilst incentivising employers to take them on. This includes:

  • Access to Work: which provides funding for additional equipment, software or taxis for those with a disability or long-term physical or mental health condition
  • Young Person’s Guarantee: helping to create a fair an inclusive workplace for all young people
  • No one left behind: tailored support for small businesses which allows them to understand their training needs and upskill more people.

For more information on ERIs, get in touch with your Local Partnerships Lead.