The Facts

Discover more about what an Apprenticeship involves with our frequently asked questions. Please note that these details apply to England only; Apprenticeship formats vary from country to country within the UK.


What is an Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is a work-based training programme where staff study for a nationally recognised qualification while gaining practical experience in a real job. Designed around the needs of employers, they can be used to train existing employees or hire new staff. Apprenticeships offer a structured programme that takes apprentices through the skills they need to do a job well.

Why should employers take on apprentices?

Apprenticeships reduce unemployment, provide funding opportunities and lead to motivated staff.  They are a great way to mould the future of an organisation by using government funding to gain highly trained staff.

Who can be an apprentice?

Anyone can potentially be an apprentice as long as they are not in full-time education, with different age groups receiving different amounts of funded training. Apprenticeships are an ideal way for those who volunteer in sport to move into a paid role, gaining employment and a career in an area they are passionate about.

What is an apprentice paid?

There is an Apprenticeship minimum wage of £2.60 per hour for those aged 16-18* and the national minimum wage applies to apprentices aged 19+.
Apprentices must be employed for at least 30 hours per week.

What types of Apprenticeship are available?

There are currently 13 different Apprenticeship frameworks giving options for the active leisure, learning and well-being sector, as well as 260 apprenticeship frameworks on offer overall. Apprenticeships are available at 3 levels:

  • Intermediate Level Apprenticeships (GCSE level)
    Apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as a Level 2 Competence Qualification, Functional Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification.
  • Advanced Level Apprenticeships (A-level equivalent)
    Apprentices work towards work-based learning such as a Level 3 Competence Qualification, Functional Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification.
  • Higher Apprenticeships (HND/degree level)
    Apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as a Level 4 Competence Qualification, Functional Skills and, in some cases, a  knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation Degree.

What funding is available?

Government funding is available to help pay for training costs incurred by the employer and provider**.  This funding cannot be used to pay or subsidise the wage of the apprentice.

How much funding can apprentices receive?

The amount of Apprenticeship funding available for training costs is divided into different age brackets:

  • 16 – 19 years – up to 100% 
  • 19 – 25 years – up to 50%
  • 25 + years  - Variable contribution towards training costs

Funding eligibility may also depend on the level of prior education and training the apprentice has completed. SkillsActive’s Funding Eligibility Service can help identify how much funding staff within an organisation may be eligible for.

Where can apprentices work?

Apprentices can be employed in many types of business, as long as they work for at least 30 hours a week. Apprentices must live and work in England for these types of Apprenticeship programme. SkillsActive can help employers find the right Apprenticeship programme for staff from all areas of a business and provide information on Apprenticeships in other parts of the UK.

Can small businesses employ apprentices?

Yes, there is no reason a small business cannot benefit from employing an apprentice. If an organisation is not able to provide employment for a minimum of 30 hours a week, SkillsActive’s Group Training Association (GTA) can help. Small businesses within a GTA network can access Apprenticeship funding by sharing these hours with another employer.

Where do apprentices train?

An apprentice’s course of study will be set by a training provider, who will agree a training plan with an apprentice and their employer. As Apprenticeships are work-based, employers must also include on-the-job training.

How long does an apprenticeship take?

Apprenticeships have no set timescale but generally take between one and four years to complete, depending on the level and other training factors. There is no set time for an Apprenticeship to start as they are delivered on a rolling basis.

What job roles are Apprenticeships for?

Apprenticeships can cover many job roles in an organisation.

Specific job roles for Apprenticeship training in the active leisure, learning and well-being sector include:

  • Leisure and Sports Managers
  • Youth and Community Workers
  • Sports Players
  • Sports Coaches, Instructors and Officials
  • Fitness Instructors
  • Sports and Fitness Occupations NEC
  • Vocational and Industrial Trainers and Instructors
  • Gardeners and Groundsmen/women
  • Playgroup Leaders/Assistants
  • Sports and Leisure Assistants
  • Leisure and Theme Park Attendants
  • Stewards and Related Occupations

SkillsActive can help identify how many of your staff are eligible for funding and evaluate the most appropriate training for all staff, not just those working in specific active leisure roles.
Other areas SkillsActive can help with include:

  • Customer Service
  • Business Administration
  • Social Media
  • Marketing and Communications
  • IT

Useful links

Further information about Apprenticeships in England can be found at the National Apprenticeship Service. Visit their website at


* Information correct as of January 2012.

** Amount of funding depends on the age and qualification level of the apprentice. Apprentices must be employed at least 30 hours a week.