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Information for employers

Apprenticeships are a job with training; in other words, they combine working with studying. Apprenticeships provide and assess the knowledge, skills and behaviours that apprentices need within a specific job role.

Hiring an apprentice is a productive and effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.


Apprenticeships unlock the potential of your people. They are a way to grow-your-own talent, developing your workforce to meet the future needs of your organisation.

Learn how apprenticeships can energise your organisation, delivering new skills and expertise to future-proof your workforce.

Skills shortage
by equipping your staff with in-demand expertise that can be costly to hire in
Recruitment and retention problems
by allowing organisations to attract new talent, as well as upskill and promote from within
Succession planning
by creating future leaders from your current staff
Diversity challenges
by widening participation through more flexible learning

In the following video, an employer who works with The Open University talks about the benefits for their organisation.

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust

You should also consider apprenticeships if your organisation needs to:

  • Support workforce transformation through leadership skills and knowledge sharing.
  • Improve productivity in the workplace.
  • Developing managers to become better leaders.
  • Recruit and retain top talent by providing a clear development pathway.

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In the UK, employers are responsible for paying their apprentices' salaries, but training costs can be funded through the Apprenticeship Levy or Government funding. The funding method for an apprenticeship is determined at the start of each apprentice’s programme.

The Levy requires organisations with a pay bill of more than £3m to pay 0.5% of that bill to support apprenticeships. However, any employer can access funding for an apprentice, whether they pay the Levy or not.

There are different funding schemes across the UK nations. Each UK nation manages its own apprenticeship programmes, including how funding is spent on apprenticeship training. More information, including links to the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish apprenticeship systems, can be found on the UK Government apprenticeship funding website.


Levy-paying employers in England can use funds in their Apprenticeship Service Account to fund apprenticeship training costs, and they will also receive a 10% Government top-up into this account.
For non-levy paying employers, the Government will fund 95% of the cost of training an apprentice, with a 5% contribution from the employer. If you employ fewer than 50 people (including the apprentice), that increases to 100% funding for apprentices aged 16-18 or aged 19-24 with an education and healthcare need. Find out more on England’s Apprenticeship website.

If you have staff in England, use The Open University's apprenticeship levy calculator for an indication of the amount of funded degree apprenticeships you could run in your organisation, based on the funding you'll receive from your first-year apprenticeship levy payments. Just fill in the details and press submit.

To find out the costs of The Open University degree and higher apprenticeship programmes, to develop new and existing staff, and more about our unique offer, contact us.

Further information on the apprenticeship levy in England can be found on the Education and Skills Funding Agency website, including information for non-levy payers on co-investment.

Note: Please use numbers only in the calculator.

Disclaimer: This tool is for illustration purposes only. The actual amount of levy you will pay and the actual number of degree apprentices you will be able to fund may vary. For example, this tool may underestimate or overestimate the number of apprentices depending on the actual cost of the Degree Apprenticeship. The Open University is not responsible for the consequences of any decisions or actions taken in reliance on the information provided by this tool.


In Wales, employers are responsible for paying their apprentice’s salary, but training costs (tuition fees) are funded by the Welsh Government. There are some financial incentives available to encourage employing apprentices, depending on the needs of the workforce at the time. For more information visit the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW).


In Scotland, employers are responsible for paying their apprentice’s salary but training costs (tuition fees) are funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) applied through the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). For more information visit the Graduate Apprenticeships - Funding - SAAS.

Apprentices, not employers, need to apply to the SAAS for funding to pay the tuition fees for their graduate apprenticeship programme.

Visit the Skills Development Scotland website for employer information about SAAS (June 2021).

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The OU support to the employers

It is easier than you think to employ or train an apprentice and The Open University (OU) provides employers with a range of supporting information and material to make the process as smooth as possible.

Our delivery team is available and responsive face-to-face, or by email and phone.

Our dedicated apprenticeship team will support you and your apprentices, providing:

  • A dedicated Account Manager to advise on and discuss your strategic and operational needs.
  • An Apprenticeship Programme Delivery Manager to support you throughout your apprentice's programme(s).
  • Highly-qualified academic staff, with current relevant industry experience.
  • Regular contact through meetings with practice tutors, your Account Manager and your Apprenticeship Programme Delivery Manager.
  • Information sessions for apprentice line managers and free online learning for mentors to develop the skills they need to support apprentices effectively.
  • Flexible learning delivered around the demands of the apprentice and the organisation.
  • A high-quality work-based learning approach that embeds learning into the workplace.
  • Advice on apprenticeships and funding; we understand that getting to grips with apprenticeships and the Levy isn’t straightforward and our team can help with any questions or uncertainties.


As with most things, it is best to allow sufficient planning time before starting new apprenticeship programmes. The process can take many months for some employers, while others will already have a firm idea of what they want and will be ready to proceed faster. We will always work with you and adapt to your deadlines wherever possible.

To learn more, contact us.

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Find out more about how The Open University supports apprentices and employers by clicking the buttons below.

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Using The Open University’s tried-and-trusted educational technology, our programmes are delivered flexibly around apprentices’ personal lives and the demands of your organisation.

Our delivery of learning is both varied and interactive, using rich media formats that engage and enthuse apprentices on their journey. Learning can be accessed 24/7 on computers, tablets and mobile devices. Online forums and tutorials as well as email and telephone communication are used to support apprentices throughout the programme.

An apprenticeship does require a part of an apprentice’s working time to be protected for off-the-job training, to allow the apprentice to engage in the learning. The planned training hours will be detailed in the Training Plan part one and discussed through the registration process. Note that in England and Wales, this time is called 'off-the-job training'. Full guidance is outlined on Our flexible, blended learning approach makes it a lot easier for employers to effectively manage off-the-job training, while minimising the impact on productivity in the workplace.

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Education & Skills Funding Agency Apprenticeships  

Disability support

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