Grow your business with DiVA Apprenticeships.

If you are aged 35, 40 and above, and are looking for work or the opportunity to change careers, few will blame you for thinking an apprenticeship is not for you. Marketing is aimed at those young enough to be your son, daughter, niece or nephew, and most apprenticeship vacancies are for entry level roles you could do in your sleep.

The biggest driver of this is the funding – the majority of employers offering apprenticeships are SMEs who currently access a government subsidy to hire apprentices below the age of 24 who are non-graduates. However, things are about to change. As of May, 1st 2017 the government is introducing a flat fee to train an apprentice that is not capped by age. For the first time, anyone aged 16 and above, non-grads to post grads, new and existing employees will now have an equal opportunity to do an apprenticeship.

However, are you ever too old to be an apprentice?

I think not, and here are six ways I believe Apprenticeships are a win-win for mature folk and their employer.

  1. Experience:  No amount of training can substitute for decades of work experience. Mature Apprentices have a better understanding of the workplace, have developed transferable skills that enable them to hit the ground running with minimum supervision, bringing a faster return on investment.
  2. Workforce diversity:  Apprenticeships offer caregivers who are usually women, the opportunity to come back to the workforce following a career break to raise children. As an Apprentice, returners benefit from an opportunity to receive training, and work experience to bring their skills up-to-date and employers get experienced professionals they could not otherwise afford. Apprenticeships can also be undertaken on a part-time basis adding flexibility for both employer and Apprentice.
  3. Advanced communication skills: Letters, telephone calls and face-to-face conversations may be “so last season” to some, however, to us middle-aged folk they have never truly gone out of style. Knowing how and when to communicate and navigate your way through workplace politics comes through experiences that younger Apprentices have not yet developed.
  4. No time to waste: Recruitment is an expensive exercise and one that is wasted if your whippersnapper of an Apprentice opts to jump ship after a few months due to a change of heart. Contrarily, opting to do an apprenticeship later in life is not something you decide to do on a whim, particularly if you have family and financial obligations. As such, mature Apprentices are more likely to be interested in and dedicated to the job at hand.
  5. Multi-skilled and adaptable: The career path experienced by mature Apprentices may have taken them through a variety of roles from general admin to office management. They may have worked in a freelance capacity or had a portfolio career holding down jobs in small teams to corporates in a variety of industries. Whatever their journey they have mastered essential skills along the way that will add value to any business.
  6. Cost Effective:  With a rise in the number of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships available, Apprenticeships are a cost-effective way for Apprentice and employer to build up their skills base. There are no training costs for the Apprentice, and the government will pay 90% of the cost of training for those companies not in scope to pay the Apprenticeship Levy. Admittedly, Apprenticeship salaries can be low. However, many employers pay significantly more than the minimum wage guidelines, and for existing employees, there should be no reduction in your salary.

We are not discounting the tremendous impact made by younger apprentices, rather encouraging mature folk not to count themselves out of the race before it’s started. Hiring Managers should also think outside of the box when it comes to developing an apprenticeship programme, and in considering who an apprentice could be. Older apprentices have a valuable contribution to make to any workforce. Let’s make the most of their work experiences and life skills, which in themselves are priceless.

Contact DiVA on 0203 189 1784 For more information on how you as an employer or individual can get started with Apprenticeships.

So, you’ve taken the plunge and hired your first apprentice! Here are some helpful tips to get you and your apprentice off to a good start.

1. Sign on the dotted line

Have an Apprenticeship Agreement in place outlining the terms and conditions of the apprenticeship along with the title of the occupation they are training towards and the qualification they are studying.

2. Make them feel welcome

Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking enough, particularly if this is your apprentices first ‘proper’ job. To help them overcome initial nerves introduce them to team members and run through the key company processes.

3. Identify a Line Manager

Your apprentice may work for different members of a team, however, it is important they have a single point of contact they can refer to for support.

4. Set clear goals & objectives

To quote Oscar Wilde “when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.” Sharing expectations through clear objectives and goals puts everyone on the same page from day one.

5. Be approachable

Your apprentice may find it hard to ask for help, especially during the early days, so do set time aside to offer guidance and support. Give clear instructions when setting tasks and set deadlines until they know what to prioritise.

6. Be firm

Like any new relationship, there may be teething problems. Nip any issues e.g. timekeeping, in the bud from the get-go. Part of learning on the job is respecting office rules and procedures, your apprentice will need to understand this.

7. Monitor progress

You may not know the units in their qualification inside and out but do get involved by attending quarterly review meetings with their assessor. Showing interest boosts your apprentices’ confidence and helps you track their progress from the beginning of the apprenticeship through to completion.

8. Be an effective communicator

Diarise a weekly catch up, so you both know where you’re at with the main work tasks and invite your apprentice to relevant internal meetings to help them feel involved and develop their understanding of the department/company.

9. Enjoy the experience

Apprenticeships have many benefits including reducing your recruitment and training bill as well as increasing productivity.  You have an extra pair of hands to help you drive your business forward, so enjoy it!

For more information on hiring apprentices contact the recruitment team at DiVA on 0203 189 1784 or drop us an email

The Government has now published the highly anticipated proposals underpinning the new apprenticeship reforms, including the cost of apprenticeship training, along with the additional support for businesses that are not in scope to pay for the Apprenticeship Levy.

The new apprenticeship funding system will be made up of 15 funding bands ranging from £1500 to £27,000 depending on the nature of the apprenticeship. For example, apprenticeships that sit within administration and customer service areas attract a lower training fee with STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects and degree level apprenticeships commanding a higher training cost. It is up to the employer to negotiate the cost of training directly with the training provider.

Under the new proposals, the 98% of employers with wage bills of less than £3m will have 90% of the costs of apprenticeship training paid for by the government.

Also, the Government has introduced financial incentives of £2,000 per apprentice to support employers and training providers that take on 16 to 18-year-old apprentices or young care leavers. Furthermore, businesses with fewer than 50 employees who take on these apprentices will not have to contribute towards the cost of training their apprentice (but will have to pay the salary), rather this will be 100% funded by Government.

The proposal also introduces the following:

DiVA Director, Arit Eminue said: “There is still a way to go in terms of ironing out how the system will work in practice, however, the funding ratio for non-levy paying employers is not prohibitive, particularly when there is much more flexibility on the eligibility criteria of the apprentice, allowing companies the ability to find and train the right talent for their business irrespective of age or educational achievement.”

For details on how you can get your business ready for the apprenticeship levy, contact Arit Eminue on 0203 189 1784 for a free consultation.

Useful Links

Click here for updated guidance for employers

Click here to estimate your levy costs


“By 2020, we want to see 3 million apprentices. To ensure large businesses share the cost of training the workforce, I announced at the Budget that we will introduce a new apprenticeship levy. Today I am setting the rate at 0.5% of an employer’s pay bill. Every employer will receive a £15,000 allowance to offset against the levy”

George Osborne Autumn Statement 2015.

The dramatic announcement in the Autumn Statement 2015 confirmed that government requires business to share the cost of training the UK’s workforce, which will be achieved through the new ‘Apprenticeship Levy’, a compulsory 0.5% of your annual payroll.

Currently the levy can only be used for the creation of apprenticeships, which in themselves are also changing – employers will soon be responsible for the creation, delivery and management of their apprenticeship programmes. Clearly this will cause many implications for businesses both financially and in terms of resource, particularly for those businesses new to the apprenticeship scheme.

Over the coming months DiVA will be hosting a number of bespoke events for business bringing you the latest updates and inviting experts from across the sector to provide further information on how best business can position itself for the changes. In the interim, we have prepared some quick answers to some of the questions we have most frequently been asked by business since the levy announcement.

Download the Government’s Apprenticeship Vision here


How will the levy impact my business?

The most obvious impact of the levy will be felt when employers start paying 0.5% of their gross payroll into the levy scheme as part of their monthly PAYE payments. This will be offset by a £15,000 tax allowance which means that if you have less than a £3,000,000 payroll you will not pay anything. There may  however be a benefit to those businesses that are under the allowance threshold as they will have access to funds raised from the levy to use as additional funding for apprenticeship training.


So what might my business pay?

Some examples below.

Business with 500 employees, with an average gross salary of £20,000

Payroll: 500 x £20,000 = £10,000,000

Levy sum: 0.5% x £10,000,000 = £50,000

Allowance: £50,000 – £15,000 = £35,000 annual levy payment


Business with 250 employees, each with a gross salary of £20,000:

Payroll: 250 x £20,000 = £5,000,000

Levy sum: 0.5% x £5,000,000 = £25,000

Allowance: £25,000 – £15,000 = £10,000 annual levy payment


Business with 100 employees each with a gross salary of £20,000:

Payroll: 100 x £20,000 – £2,000,000

Levy sum: 0.5% x £2,000,000 = £10,000

Allowance: £10,000 – £15,000 = £0 annual levy payment


What happens if I don’t use the levy?

The only way to recoup the levy is by hiring apprentices. Any unused levy payments will be lost to the business. There is the potential that the under used levy will be given to those employers who have exceeded their apprenticeship levy spend to support additional apprentices. This would also include those businesses who will not be making levy payments as they fall below the threshold as set out above.


How do I get started?

Consider turning all support roles into apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships are excellent for entry level admin/support roles e.g. Marketing Assistants, Admin Assistants, PA roles etc. DiVA are able to give you a quick, free impartial assessment of any vacancy you have or are likely to have in the near future to see whether or not it will be suitable for an apprenticeship. If the role is in an area that we  don’t cover we can help you find a suitable training company who can.

Convert current roles into an apprenticeship.

Moving existing staff onto an apprenticeship could be a win-win for both employer and employee.  The employee has already learned the idiosyncrasies of the business and an apprenticeship could ensure the development of further skills in-line with business need, potentially forming an accession strategy for your business.

Review your Graduate Scheme.

If your company operates a graduate scheme there may be scope to use some of those graduate places for apprenticeships particularly at a higher apprenticeship level.

Get some help.

It can be a hard slog setting up an apprenticeship scheme especially if you’re starting from scratch. There are many potential pitfalls, course options and way too much jargon!  Don’t do it alone. Apprenticeships are our business. We can help!

We can help you carry out an assessment of your current and future recruitment strategy, making an assessment of your current vacancies; likely future vacancies based on your workforce plans; the training requirements you have for existing employees; your future recruitment plans; and how all of these may be able to be met through a robust, government compliant apprenticeship programme that will enable you to recoup funds taxed through the apprenticeship levy.

Whether you just want a quick chat about how these changes may affect your business or if you would like us to work with you on a more in-depth strategy just contact Arit or Paul by completing the contact form here. This is a no obligation free consultancy service that we offer to all of our current and future clients.

 See what our clients say


When should we get started?

Now! April 2017 is not that far away.

Many businesses will be ready to sign off on their staffing budgets for 2016-17 if they haven’t already. Having a successful apprenticeship scheme developed and embedded into your business’s strategic plan in 2016-17 will allow you to be strongly positioned for when the Apprenticeship Levy comes into force.


For more information on how to get started  go to our employer page. I’m an Employer get me started!

We will be keeping this news page up to date with new developments and how they may impact all of our businesses as and when they are released. If you would like to be kept informed of updates or future Apprenticeship Levy events just complete the contact form here and we will add you to our Levy-Info mailing list.