Information for Heads, CPD Leads and Line Managers


We know there’s a lot to consider, so we’ve rounded up the benefits of apprenticeships, how they work, costs and funding, and the support expected from employers. 

Know exactly what you’re looking for? Click the links below to head straight there.  

Got a question that isn’t covered below? Check out our FAQs.



#howitworks (col-12)

How it Works

#howitworks-text (col-12 col-lg-6)

Only 20% of your employee’s time will be dedicated to their programme. We’ve broken down the various time commitments below.

Our programmes are made up of a practical period, in which an apprentice must complete 6.5 hours per week ‘off the job’ study time, and a gateway / assessment period when the delivery of content and learning has finished, and the apprentice is preparing to take their exam.

Study time could be one day from home a week, in school or split across mornings and afternoons - the exact arrangement should be arranged between the apprentice and their line manager.

All employees working 30+ hours per week must complete this entitlement for the duration of the 18-month programme, during their normal working hours. If they work less than 30 hours per week, they will spend 20% of their weekly hours on ‘off the job’ study, and their programme would be extended.

Once an apprentice enters the gateway period (a maximum of three months after the learning delivery has finished), they no longer need 6.5 hours of study time per week. We can support with creating a plan that works for everyone. Once agreed, the time commitments for your apprentice will be detailed in their Training Plan before their start date.

#howitworks-text (col-12 col-lg-6)

The important stuff:

  • The apprentice should be given flexibility to self-guide their learning as part of some fixed face to face and online taught sessions. To help you plan, we will let you know of any fixed teaching sessions before your apprentice starts their programme. We understand the working patterns of school-based apprentices, so all live sessions will take place during the school day when they will already be at work, and nothing is planned to be completed outside of school hours or during school holidays.
  • Your apprentice will need to be employed to work at least 22 hours per week to be eligible for enrolment.
  • Apprentices must evidence their hours of learning away from their day-to-day responsibilities for the duration of the practical period of their programme. Some of this will be at fixed times during the school working day.
    • For example, live sessions on our Teaching Assistant programme take place online from 9.00 -11.00am on a Wednesday, approximately every 3-4 weeks. Apprentices are expected to arrive 15 minutes before the session starts to prepare and remind themselves of their notes from the previous week’s session, and then log their reflections after their session.

      This would result in a minimum of three hours needing to be allocated between 08:30-11:30 or 09:00-12:00 every Wednesday, depending on the apprentice’s working hours. The remaining 3.5 hours of 'off the job’ time will be arranged to suit the school.

#howitworks-outro (col-12)

We are experts in helping schools make apprenticeships work for them, and we are with you every step of the way. Goodbye knowledge gaps, hello employee development!


#costs (col-12)

Costs / Funding

Developing staff doesn’t have to be expensive.
With apprenticeships, we don’t just cover the cost of training, you can save on salary costs too.

Reduce cost, not staffing

#costs-intro (col-12 col-lg-6)

For staff working in a United Learning school, the programmes are fully funded by United Learning’s contribution to the government’s apprenticeship levy. This means that the training cost is completely free to apprentices and their schools. Training refers to the curriculum and delivery of the programme and of the end point assessment. This is also the case for external levy paying employers.

If you don’t pay the apprenticeship levy as an employer, you can still benefit. You’ll need to pay just 5% towards the cost of each apprenticeship, the rest is funded by government co-investment through the Apprenticeship Service. The remaining 5% can be invoiced on a schedule that works for you and helps you manage your budget effectively. Current funding through the apprenticeship levy:

  • Teaching Assistant - £7,000 max. funding (for Autumn 2023 starts onwards)
  • Early Years Educator - £6,000 max. funding
  • HR Support - £4,500 max. funding

#Costs and funding (col-12 col-lg-6)

You either save 100% on staff training costs as a levy payer or save 95% on training costs as a non-levy payer. For staff that you put forward for an apprenticeship, whether as new recruits or existing staff, their salary and employment costs remain your responsibility as their employer.

We provide them with the training package: input – assessment = qualification, for free or 95% funded.


The maximum cost of training for a Teaching Assistant is £5,000. A levy payer/small employer would pay £0, and a non-levy payer would pay £250, meaning a saving of £4,750 from your school budget.

Find out more about how apprenticeships funding works for employers.


#support (col-12)


#supportintro (col-12 col-lg-6)

We know learning is more effective when it happens as part of a learning community. Having access to a supportive network will motivate and inspire your staff as they work towards their qualification. This is why we make sure our apprentices can access all the support they need from us throughout the programme.

All apprentices will:

  • Be allocated a buddy on the programme
  • Have regular 1:1s with their programme lead
  • Be allocated a workplace mentor who is an expert in their field
  • Have access to an online forum for their cohort
  • Have a dedicated mailbox to our provider management team
  • Have regular opportunities to share their feedback on their programme
  • Have reasonable adjustments in place if required

#supportmore (col-12 col-lg-6)

As the employer, you will:

  • Receive regular briefings via email and updates
  • Have easy access to induction and training for your apprentice’s workplace mentor, and attend regular review meetings with them, the programme lead, and the apprentice
  • Have access to the apprentice’s online portfolio so you can monitor and review their learning
  • Have direct email access to our provider management team, whenever you need it

We’ve also made sure the curriculum is written and ready to be delivered. This means that you can focus on supporting your apprentice to apply their new knowledge and skills instead of spending precious time planning and writing tasks yourself. We know what school life is like, so we aim to be as flexible as possible and are there to support you and the apprentice whenever you need.




Our next intake for all three programmes is Autumn 2023.

If you’re ready to recruit an apprentice into a support staff role or develop existing staff, submit an enquiry and we’ll be in touch to discuss how we can support you.

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.

Financial Accountability and Freedom of Information
Website Terms, Cookies and Privacy