Manager’s guide to modern apprentices

Table of Contents


A modern apprentice or apprentice provides Argyll and Bute Council with an opportunity to bring in a young person and train them up linked to workforce planning.

This document provides key information for managers on apprenticeships. It outlines the commitment required to employ an apprentice, how an apprenticeship works and the benefits which can be received from employing an apprentice.

An apprenticeship is often refered to as a modern apprenticeship, this is because there are now three different types of apprenticeships; foundation (aimed at school pupils) and graduate (university degree courses which are undertaken whilst in employment). 

This guidance covers modern apprenticeships only.

What is an apprenticeship?


Modern apprenticeship – a modern apprenticeship allows a young person to gain a qualification whilst in employment therefore not only are they learning on the job, but they are learning whilst earning a wage.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) – provide the frameworks which can be undertaken as a modern apprenticeship and provide the funding to cover the training costs.

Key facts

  • The training they receive is structured and on the job, the qualification has also been designed for the industry.
  • Employing a Modern Apprenticeship will help you to build a skilled, motivated team.
  • There are more than 80 Modern Apprenticeship frameworks.
  • Modern Apprentices gain the experience employers are looking for – from skills and knowledge learnt through work, and a qualification.
  • It’s a real alternative for young people to University or College.
  • Modern Apprenticeships are designed with employers and industry in mind, so Modern Apprentices receives the best possible training.
  • The qualification is accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.
  • In order to be employed as a modern apprentice, a young person must be between the age of 16-24 (or 16-29 if they have additional support needs or are care experienced) but modern apprenticeship frameworks can be undertaken by any employee as a method of upskilling.

Benefits of employing an apprentice

There are a number of benefits of employing a Modern Apprentice:

  • Skills Development Scotland contributes towards the cost of training.
  • Learning on the job means Modern Apprentices get to know your team inside out – and apply their learning right away.
  • Modern Apprentices bring fresh ideas to you team.
  • Modern Apprentices are a key tool to support workforce planning.
  • Young people offer new exciting ways of thinking and offer fresh opportunities for your current staff such as mentoring.
  • Modern Apprenticeships allow more senior members of the team to pass down knowledge to new young employees, who are eager to learn which will prevent knowledge and skills from leaving the organisation.

How does an apprenticeship work?

The recruitment process in terms of an advert, authorisation and application process is the same as for any other vacancy. However there are a few steps that must be completed before you get to this stage.

The length of the Modern Apprentice will vary dependent on the framework they are undertaking. There is also scope to offer a progressive Modern Apprentice, by making the length of the apprenticeship longer and providing the Modern Apprentice with an option to do an enhanced qualification in the second year.

Training delivery to the Modern Apprentice will be dependent on the framework selected and the training provider which has been secured.

In some qualifications, the Apprentice may be visited at the workplace by an assessor who will deliver the training that will lead them to obtaining their qualification. Other frameworks will require the Modern Apprentices to travel to receive training. Consideration should be given to this when selecting the framework, training provider and successful candidate. As a rule, under 21’s are not able to drive pool cars however there is an exception which can be granted by Strategic Transport if the employee has been driving for 2 years and passed a test drive with a member of the Strategic Transport Team. This is of course if the young person has a driving licence, without this they are relying on public transport.

Modern Apprenticeship qualifications are work based, therefore it is essential that you ensure that the work they will be undertaking will meet the work required to achieve the qualification.

What commitment is required?

It is difficult to put a cost on the commitment required by each team, however some detail has been provided below which might help you get a better idea of what is involved.

Induction: As a minimum the Modern Apprentice will need to be taken through the induction process thoroughly, ensuring that they understand what is expected of them and who everyone is. An additional checklist has been created as a supplement to this guide to ensure that the Modern Apprentice has been given a detailed induction, bearing in mind that it might be their first exposure to the world of work.

Training plan: Time would be required from the manager to ensure that they create a learning/training plan with the apprentice, which will ensure that both the apprentice and the recruiting department are getting the most out of the experience. This will need to take into consideration the work the apprentice requires to do in order to achieve their qualification.

Workload: Dependent on the framework and the amount of time required for training by the provider, it is important that this is reflected in the Modern Apprentices workload to ensure they have adequate time to fully participate in their training.

Daily tasks: A commitment should also be given to the Modern Apprentice from the department to provide them with as many skills and experiences as possible, therefore this should be considered when undertaking daily roles.

Mentor: A Modern Apprentice must be allocated a mentor who can provide them with additional skills and experience, as well as someone they can feel safe to talk to and raise any issues they have. An eLearning course is available and can be accessed within LEON to support mentors to undertake this role.

1 to 1’s: Managers must ensure that they give Modern Apprentices 1 to 1 meetings on a regular basis. They need to explain the purpose of 1 to 1’s and ensure the Modern Apprentice understands why they are required to participate. Young people find it difficult to deal with issues and it can often be minimal issues that we, as adults, would not even highlight. However with young people it is important that we address any issues early, as they are known to lose interest easily and can often struggle to see beyond the issue. Managers have a responsibility to identify issues early and help them work to resolve them, so we do not lose young and committed employees.

Future employment: As Modern Apprentices are on a fixed term contract managers and mentors have an obligation to help them secure employment beyond their contract length. If a vacancy is not going to arise within your department it is important that you actively encourage Modern Apprentices to apply for jobs in other areas of the organisation. This ensures that their skills and knowledge are not leaving the organisation. Managers must plan time into their schedules to support Modern Apprentices at the end of their contract.

What training is available?

There are over 80 Modern Apprenticeship frameworks which operate at a variety of different levels.  A guide has been created for managers on the different options, alternatively information can be found on the Skills Development Scotland website. Please note this list contains all of the apprenticeships available (including graduate and foundation). For help deciding on a framework, contact HROD on

What are the costs of employing an apprentice?

The recruiting department is responsible for funding the salary costs of the Modern Apprentice. The agreed hourly rate for a Modern Apprentice is £5.28, for the first 6 months then the living wage is applied thereafter. The current living wage is £10.85 this means the annual salary before oncosts is £14,717 for year 1 and £19800 for any subsequent years. 

For-up-to date salary costs including on costs, please email

Dependent on the structure of the framework the recruiting department may also have to provide assistance with travel and accommodation if required.

The training costs associated with the Modern Apprenticeship will be met by Skills Development Scotland who administers the funds on behalf of the Scottish Government. If the Modern Apprentice is under 19, then it is likely that Skills Development Scotland will cover all of the costs for the apprenticeship, however if they are aged 20-24 it is usually a reduced funding rate (normally around 50%). Occasionally training providers may ask for additional funding however this is rare and can usually be negotiated. A number of providers should be explored before we agree to pay the additional funding.

For further information

You should also refer to the following guidance documents and training

Guidance on how to recruit an apprentice.

Guidance on utilising apprenticeship frameworks to upskill existing employees.

Training for mentors to support apprentices can be found here.

For further information or guidance please contact HROD by emailing