As an employer you have to pay your apprentices wages and you have to pay to train them. However, there is financial help available from the government.

10 pences and pound coins stacked on a table


Employers are able to decide how much they wish to pay an apprentice as long as it meets National Minimum Wage laws for apprentices. The National Minimum Wage applies to both working hours and training hours, within the apprenticeship, and typically rises each year in October.  The current National Minimum Wages for apprentices are:

Age Hourly rate
16-18 and any apprentice in their first year of an apprenticeship. £3.30
18 to 20 (in years 2 or more of apprenticeship) £5.30
21+ (in years 2 or more of apprenticeship) £6.70


Despite the minimum wage, employers are encouraged to pay a salary they feel is fair and reflects the level of work and study being undertaken. Furthermore, an employer cannot reduce an apprentice’s wage during the training period, even if the wage exceeds the minimum requirement. Likewise if an employer decides to offer an apprenticeship to an existing member of staff, they cannot pay them less than their previous wage.  


Funding for Training Costs:

The government funds 100% of the training costs for apprentices ages 16-18 and 50% of the training costs for apprentices aged 19+. If you are using training providers and colleges they will obtain apprenticeship funding on your behalf. However, if you are delivering learning and support to your apprentices in-house you can get government funding directly.

Apprenticeship funding payments are made on a monthly basis and are spread across the planned duration of each qualification within the apprenticeship. A percentage of the funding for the competence element of the apprenticeship is paid upon completion of the whole framework.

The Funding Rules offer more information about apprenticeship funding.



The Apprenticeship Grant for Employers of 16-24-year-olds (AGE 16 to 24) is a £1,500 VAT free grant available to small employers (with fewer than 50 staff), who employ an apprentice aged 16 to 24, for a minimum of 12 months. You will only be eligible if you have not employed an apprentice in the last 12 months and you can receive a maximum of five grants.

The grant aims to support businesses who would not normally be in a financial position to recruit young apprentices. In the past, employers put the grant towards equipment, accommodation and additional specialist training.

The grant is subject to eligibility and availability and in some areas, where the grant is managed locally, or where additional grants are available, the criteria may differ. For more information, see the AGE 16-24 employer factsheet and the Government’s Grants Page.


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