How do apprenticeships work?

Learn more about the practical aspects of joining an apprentice scheme

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What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a paid job with an accompanying skills development programme for anyone aged 16 and over.

It combines learning in the workplace, formal ‘off-the-job’ training and the opportunity to practise and embed their new skills in a real work context. During an apprenticeship, you as the employer will provide tasks for apprentices to perform and the training provider will teach the skills to perform those tasks.

An apprentice is employed full-time (usually between 30-40 hours per week), which includes at least 6 hours a week on off the job training with the training provider.

Employer responsibilities

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Apprenticeships represent a big commitment from the student and the employer and there are some important things to consider before moving forward with an apprenticeship.

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Employed team member

An apprentice will be an employed member of your team, so they will need a contract of employment long enough for them to complete their apprenticeship.

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Employers must also pay the apprentice’s wages, aligned with the National Minimal Wage, for the age of the apprentice.  The current minimum wage for apprentices can be found here.

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The role must help the apprentice gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to achieve the apprenticeship with support from the employer.

How construction apprenticeships work

All apprenticeships are different but they often include:

  • on-the-job coaching and learning
  • off-the-job learning
  • employer induction and training
  • online learning and support
  • workbooks
  • projects
  • mentoring and line management support
  • regular workplace reviews
  • specific training for individuals.

What types of apprenticeships are there?

Employers in the construction industry like apprenticeships because they help develop new employees with the skills, education and experience they need. There are many different forms of apprenticeship, but typically, they take 18-24 months to complete and involve studying one day per week, or block release.


  • intermediate level 2 - the equivalent of 5 GCSE passes at grade 9-4 (A*-C)
  • advanced level 3 - the equivalent of 2 A-level passes, a Level 3 Diploma or International Baccalaureate
  • higher levels 4, 5, 6 and 7 - the equivalent of a Foundation Degree and above
  • degree level 6 and 7 - the equivalent of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.
View NHBC apprenticeships

Employers need to have:

  • an apprenticeship agreement in place with their apprentice for the duration of the apprenticeship

  • a written agreement with NHBC for employers who pay the apprenticeship levy and use the apprenticeship service

  • a commitment to have an apprenticeship in place for at least one year

  • the correct employment policies and salary requirements for the apprentice's age

  • a commitment to pay a wage consistent with the law

  • updates on progression, weekly hours and working patterns logged with the training provider

  • a commitment statement signed by the apprentice, the employer and NHBC.

Hiring your apprentice

There are several steps to taking on an apprentice.

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Choose which apprenticeship from our construction apprenticeships

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Check what funding is available for training and other costs to your organisation

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Offer the apprenticeship to existing employees or advertise it as a new role

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Select your apprentice and put in place an agreement and commitment statement

Apprenticeship funding for employers

Apprenticeship resources

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Bricklaying apprenticeship factsheet

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Groundworker apprenticeship factsheet

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Apprenticeships Handbook

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Safeguarding and prevent guide


Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss employing an apprentice

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