Frequently Asked Questions

Who pays for the training?

Training is funded through the apprenticeship levy. Schools/nurseries pay this if their employer has an annual wage bill of more than £3 million. All schools that are part of United Learning can access the group-wide levy pot. If you are external to United Learning and part of a Multi-Academy Trust, you likely also meet the criteria to pay the levy.

If your organisation doesn’t meet the threshold to pay the levy, you will be able to use the ESFA’s reserved funding system to fund either 100% of training costs (if you’re an organisation with less than 50 employees), or 95% of the costs if you’re medium sized and don’t pay the levy.

All employers must use the Apprenticeship Service portal to manage their funding.

Find out more, including how to set up your Apprenticeship Service account.

How much do I pay an apprentice?

There are national minimum wage rates which outline how much you are legally required to pay apprentices. You may also have additional pay thresholds to consider.

We would recommend offering a competitive wage to apprentices that exceeds the national minimum apprentice rate – recruitment and retention in the education sector is currently challenging so do offer more where you can, to give your school/nursery a competitive edge for the best apprentice candidates.   

When do programmes start?

We launch new intakes of all of our programmes each spring and autumn term – normally March/April and October/November. Recruitment starts and applications open the term before.

How long does the programme last?

All of our programmes last approximately 18 months, plus three months for the assessment period. Active learning has finished by the assessment period, so you will no longer need to provide Off the Job learning time. Programmes may be shorter or longer depending on your apprentice’s working hours or any prior knowledge. Apprentices are only expected to complete study during term time.

Why do we have to give the Off the Job time? What does my apprentice do in this time?

Dedicated Off the Job study time is a condition of apprenticeship funding. We can only claim funding from the apprenticeship levy to pay for training if you as the employer agree to provide your apprentice with this entitlement. We must collect evidence that this is being provided and completed by the apprentice throughout their programme. We have planned all of your apprentice’s OTJ time for you so each learner will be given a clear timetable of activities to complete at enrolment. This will include a mix of live webinars, tutorials, research and assignment tasks that are directly related to their role.

Can existing staff do apprenticeship training?

Yes! Apprenticeships are an excellent way to develop and invest in your existing workforce. As long as your colleague does not already hold a Level 3 or above qualification in a similar subject area, they should be eligible to apply. They can also achieve their Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) in English and Maths through the apprenticeship if they don’t already hold these.

How can I hire an apprentice?

It’s simple – please get in touch with us on and we will get the ball rolling for you. We’ll ask for your vacancy details and advertise your role on the Apprenticeship Service so we can secure you a great new hire.

What is the commitment on my part as the employer?

We ask that you provide your apprentice with 6.5 hours of Off the Job study time each week (or 20% of their total hours if they’re part-time) during term time, in a quiet study space free from interruptions (you may want to let them study from home). You will also need to provide them with a workplace mentor who supports them, completes observations, and attends progress reviews and briefings every term.

How do they apply?

The application process differs slightly depending on whether the applicant is already employed in a school/nursery, or if they’re looking for an apprenticeship.

View each application process

Can we have more than one apprentice?

Of course! However, whether or not this is feasible will be subject to your school’s specific circumstances. With multiple apprentices, an employer will need to consider how each apprentice will fulfil their Off the Job time whilst ensuring there is enough staff in the classroom each day.

If you’re not sure how you could make it work, get in touch and we’ll be happy to advise.


United Learning comprises: United Learning Ltd (Registered in England No: 00018582. Charity No. 313999) UCST (Registered in England No: 2780748. Charity No. 1016538) and ULT (Registered in England No. 4439859. An Exempt Charity). Companies limited by guarantee.
Registered address: United Learning, Worldwide House, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, PE3 6SB.

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