Next steps: Recruiting apprentices

This information is designed for use by union reps. If you are an apprentice, see our Joining a trade union as an apprentice in our information and resources for apprentices.

If your employer decides it wants to start an Apprenticeship programme, there is lots of support available to get the recruitment process up and running.

There are two main routes for recruiting an apprentice:

  • recruit and employ an apprentice directly
  • recruit an apprentice through a Group Training Association

Recruiting and employing an apprentice directly

The National Apprenticeship Service is able to support employers to set up an Apprenticeship programme. It has advisers who can be contacted on: 08000 150 600.

The advisers will arrange a convenient time to come and meet the employer to discuss the programme and help to find a suitable training provider in the area. Where possible, union reps should look to be involved in this meeting.

Employers may want to advertise vacancies using their usual recruitment process, but it should be noted that the National Apprenticeship Service manages an official online recruitment system for Apprenticeships in England. The service is free and enables vacancies from employers to be viewed and applied for nationally by thousands of candidates that register on to the system.

It is crucial that employers think about issues such as how they can actively recruit to address gender, age or ethnicity inequalities in the workplace. For example, BT worked with the CWU to attract more women and ethnic minorities into engineering roles by creating job adverts targeted at these groups, placing adverts in women's magazines, and launching an internet campaign. (See also Equality and Diversity.)

Recruiting an apprentice through a Group Training Association

In many sectors, Group Training Associations (GTAs) offer Apprenticeship training to smaller employers who do not have the resources to train apprentices directly. A GTA is a not-for-profit organisation providing support on accessing and managing training for a group of employers to encourage their involvement in Apprenticeships. A GTA can support an employer in advertising, recruiting and delivering the training aspect of an Apprenticeship programme.

Typically, a GTA is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity whose objects require that surpluses be reinvested. There is usually a group of subscribing member employer companies from which senior executives are drawn to form a GTA board.

Union reps should be aware that organisations called Apprenticeship Training Agencies (ATAs) may also offer Apprenticeships in your sector or region. These employ the apprentice directly and hire them out to employers. ATAs essentially operate as employment agencies for apprentices.