How to recruit and/or start an apprentice

If you are a sole trader and taking on your first employee, please refer to ‘sole trader taking on first employee’. This will help you find out how to register as an employer, get your PAYE number and a couple of other things you need to do once you’ve registered.

You may be recruiting an apprentice externally or you may be starting an existing member of staff on an apprenticeship. The different steps you need to take to recruit and/or start an apprentice are set out below. If you are not recruiting your apprentice externally you can skip step 5.

Step 1 – choose your apprenticeship and find an apprenticeship training provider

There are hundreds of different apprenticeships available. Have you thought about what area of your business needs the most attention? Where are you least able to focus your time? Where do you need some help?

Use this link help you navigate the different options and to pick the right apprenticeship standard for you. It is important to note that not all apprenticeship standards are available to all employers and not all will be available in East Sussex.

Once you’ve picked your apprenticeship standard, you will have a choice of apprenticeship training provider based on the type of apprenticeship that you would like to offer. There are many apprenticeship training providers in East Sussex and beyond, and it can be quite difficult to know where to start. To help you, we’ve gone into a little more detail about the process here.

You can also contact for impartial brokerage as we have many local and national training providers in our membership.

Step 2 – check what funding for training you can get

Use this link to help you find out what funding is available to help with the costs of the training element of the apprenticeship you have chosen. We’ve included some of our top tips.

Step 3 – preparing to set up an apprenticeship service account

If you already have an apprenticeship service account, you can skip this stage.

If you are a sole trader, you will have only recently have received a PAYE scheme reference number. You need to complete these steps before setting up your apprenticeship service account:

  • submit at least one payroll return to HMRC using its basic PAYE tool – this can be a blank employer payment summary (EPS) if you are not yet employing someone
  • notify HMRC that you will be taking on an apprentice under your business’s PAYE and submit the data.

Before you can create your Apprenticeship Service account, you will need:

  • a UK One Login account linked to an email address you use for work – you can create this at the same time as creating your apprenticeship service account.
  • the Government Gateway login for your organisation
  • authority to add PAYE schemes to the account
  • authority to accept the employer agreement on behalf of your organisation.
Step 4 – setting up an apprenticeship service account

If you already have an apprenticeship service account, you can skip this stage.

You’ll need to log in to your GOV.UK One Login account. From there you can set up your apprenticeship service account.

This short video shows you how to register an account on the Apprenticeship Service.

As an employer, once you have an account, you’ll be able to:

  • access and manage apprenticeship funding
  • receive a transfer of apprenticeship funds where eligible
  • advertise vacancies on find an apprenticeship
  • choose an apprenticeship training course and find a training provider
  • select suitable end-point assessment organisations
  • give feedback on apprenticeship training
  • give training providers permission to carry out some tasks on your behalf.

The Department for Education has a series of short videos to help you with all aspects of using the Apprenticeship Service which you might find helpful.

Step 5 – advertise your apprenticeship

Skip this stage if you are recruiting internally.

You can either do this yourself here or you can give your training provider permission to do it for you.

Step 6 – make an apprenticeship agreement and training plan with your chosen apprentice

Find out how to do that here.

We hope you enjoy working with your apprentice!