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Bringing an Apprentice Onboard Step-by-Step

IPS employers guide

- First things first, decide if taking on an apprentice fits your business.

- Explore the perks and funding options available.

- Get familiar with the training your apprentice will need.

- Understand what you're responsible for in their training journey.

- Find the apprenticeship course that matches your job opening.

- Choose IPS as your training provider to handle their off-the-job learning.

- Think ahead to the assessment your apprentice will face.

- Create your apprenticeship service account for easy management.

- If you're not promoting from within, we'll help you advertise your apprenticeship.

- Collaborate with IPS for an initial assessment and training plan.

- Be there for your apprentice, offering the support they need.

- Plan out their progression—what's next after the apprenticeship? Consider promotions or further training.


Ready to embark on the apprenticeship journey?




Taking on an apprentice is a significant investment for your company. The more involved you are with the apprenticeship the more likely it is that you will get a loyal and skilled employee at the end of their training.

Day one of the apprenticeship may be the first day the apprentice has been employed. If they are new to your company plan for their first day. Decide who will meet them and introduce them to your team. Have a simple induction programme ready for them – who are they going to meet on day one, what do they need to know about their workplace and how soon? Who else do they need to meet and when?



With a suitable mentor. Choose someone that the apprentice can talk to throughout their apprenticeship, whether they are working directly with them or not. The mentor must be approachable and a good role model so your apprentice has someone who can set the standard of behaviour and values you would like them to develop. Ideally, the mentor will be someone who has had a similar work background so they can understand some of the difficulties an apprentice may experience. It is highly recommended that the mentor is not the line manager. Make sure the mentor understands the role and has the time and willingness to support the apprentice. IPS offers an NCFE Level 2 Award in Mentoring. Contact us for further details.



The apprentice’s line manager should keep track of their progress. A regular chat, say monthly, where their skills, knowledge, and behaviours are discussed, from the beginning of the apprenticeship through to completion. Have an open ear and take the time to listen to your apprentice and the staff they work with. Keep in contact with their mentor, they may have deeper insight. It would be ideal if the line manager or mentor were available for this review, however, this may not be practical on all occasions.

It is critical though, that our trainer has an opportunity to speak with the mentor or line manager at the end of the review. This is a two-way process so you, and IPS, can exchange any information that will help the apprentice’s development. Companies that maintain direct contact with their learners through block release get better outcomes from their apprentices.

IPS recommends that you keep in touch regularly, at least once every term. IPS welcomes visits from your company to North Bank House to meet with your apprentice. If you don’t want to visit regularly you can use video or phone calls to support them.



Personal support is essential to ensure they are happy and coping with their new work and study commitments. Set clear objectives and expectations. Apprentices are unlikely to know what you expect of them unless you set it out in a clear and friendly manner. Clarity at the beginning of the Apprenticeship can avoid many potential pitfalls later.

Give them adequate supervision, they may find it hard to ask for help, so make sure you, or your team, are approachable and have the time to guide them appropriately. Young apprentices are especially impressionable and learn as much from what they see you and your team doing as they do from being told what to do. Following working practices is an important part of the Apprenticeship, taking shortcuts can lead to difficulty gaining an Apprenticeship, so make sure you set a good example!



If your Apprentice is under the age of 18 or is a vulnerable adult, you will have to take precautions to ensure they are properly safeguarded. Prevent is the government’s programme to reduce the risk of radicalisation and terrorism. You will need to ensure that employees who have regular contact with your apprentice have an awareness of safeguarding and Prevent.

The following are all safeguarding / Prevent issues:

Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, financial abuse or theft, discrimination, bullying, cyberbullying, mental health issues, grooming, radicalisation.IPS offers a Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Safeguarding and Prevent distance course.
Contact us for further details.

Contact us for further details.



Apprenticeships now include a requirement for a minimum of 6 hours Off the Job Training (OJT) per week. Depending on the type of apprenticeship this can be easily achieved or may take some planning. As part of the sign-up process, both your company representative and IPS will have detailed any planned training that counts towards OJT.

If you have not been involved in this process, ask for a copy of this paperwork from your company representative. It is also a good idea to share this with the apprentice line manager and mentor.
IPS has produced an information handout to help explain the types of activities that count towards the minimum OJT hours requirements. This handout is available for download on our IPS apprenticeships website. It is a good idea to share this with the staff that work with your apprentice.


As part of the apprentices’ initial assessment, IPS carries out an IAG session. This takes the form of talking to your Apprentice about the apprenticeship, whether it is the best option for them, what the Apprenticeship can lead to as a career, and what other learning opportunities may be suitable at the end of their Apprenticeship.

A company representative is invited to this meeting to ensure that the correct Apprenticeship and pathway, for the apprentice’s long-term goals, is followed. Funding Rules, from the ESFA, require this to ensure that your apprentices can make well-informed choices for themselves. IPS strongly encourages you to get involved with the discussions as part of your support for your employees.

Toward the end of the apprenticeship, your apprentice may wish to know what opportunities are available to them for continued development and progression. Often, they will initiate a conversation with IPS about further training options, so take the lead and speak to the apprentice as they near completion, inviting IPS to participate.  The apprenticeship is normally one of the early steps of someone’s career and your apprentice may wish to discuss their long-term goals with you.

More about information advice and guidance



Your apprentice should have the same rights and responsibilities as any other employee. They should not be low-cost labour. You are making an investment in them for their benefit and the benefit of your company.

You may have employed an apprentice to help fulfill an immediate need or to invest for the long term and this is only the first part of their journey with you. Apprentices can introduce new skills to the business, this may be from recent education or other employers. Keep an open mind to harnessing talents and interests that will benefit your company in the long term. Research has often shown that apprentices remain one of the most loyal members of your workforce.


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