by employers

Here we provide answers to common questions from employers about classic car restoration apprentices, mechanics, panel beaters, coach builders, boiler smiths, heritage marine technicians, heritage skills qualifications etc.

What’s the difference between an apprenticeship, traineeship and internship?

Apprenticeships are where an apprentice is employed by you with an apprenticeship contract. They must get at least the minimum wage, holiday pay and receive 20% off the job training through an outside training provider. An apprenticeship must be a genuine job accompanied by a skills development programme. Individuals gain the technical knowledge, practical experience and wider skills for their immediate job and future careers. The apprentice can be a new or existing employee.

The Heritage Engineering Advanced Apprenticeship scheme is at level 3 (equivalent to A levels in academic terms) and aims to produce a fully-skilled engineering technician. The apprentice will need to sit an independent end-point assessment at the end of the training period to be judged as professionally competent.

The time required to complete the apprenticeship varies, but is typically anywhere up to 42 months. It can be shorter if the apprentice is already part-skilled with a minimum time of 1 year and a day.
There is now no upper age limit for apprentices and you may even consider an apprenticeship for a current employee. The new apprenticeship rules are therefore suitable for career-changers including, for example those leaving the armed forces. More details are available at and check-out other information about heritage engineering apprenticeships further on this page including the Guide to Apprenticeships.

If you do take on an apprentice who is in the 16-18 year age range, you might benefit from a grant of £1,000 when eligible and have 100% of their training costs covered. Please ask your training provider.
Traineeships are designed for 16-24 years olds to enable them to gain relevant work experience after which they may be suitable for ongoing employment or to commence an apprenticeship. Trainees are generally not paid by the employer (though employers typically help with travel and subsistence expenses) but they may receive financial assistance from the government or charitable bodies. Traineeships are limited to six months.

For some employers, traineeships provide a stepping-stone to see if a candidate might be suitable for an apprenticeship. During this time the trainee may also be required to study English and Maths if they do not have appropriate GCSE grades. Dowload the Guide to Traineeships factsheet for more details.

The Heritage Engineering Apprenticeships group does not currently advise on traineeships but we recommend you contact the apprenticeship training providers on this website to discuss further. Many training providers run full-time foundation courses for people to gain practical skills and knowledge in heritage engineering subjects and they would be glad to help you to identify keen potential candidates for either traineeships or apprenticeships.
Internships are for graduates with at least a foundation degree. This Heritage Engineering Apprenticeship website does not advise on internships.
If you are unsure about which route is best for you, we recommend you speak to some of the training providers listed on this web-site who offer relevant courses. Many of them will also help in the recruitment process for either apprentices or trainees.

Alternatively you can get more information about apprenticeships in general at: or via the National Apprenticeship Service on 08000 150 600.

I’ve currently got an 'apprentice' but he doesn’t go to college or an outside training provider.

Many small employers mistakenly take on an 'apprentice' and train them in-house without using an off-the-job training provider. This is not an apprenticeship within the rules of the Government’s Trailblazer Scheme, but is a regular employment contract and different rules then apply.
At the end of the training, the employee is unlikely to be recognized as an engineering technician by a professional body and may lack areas of skill or knowledge that a formal apprentice has benefitted from.
If you do think your current employee might benefit from becoming an apprentice, then we recommend you speak with one of the training providers on this web-site. They will work with you to assess your employee’s skills and knowledge levels and tailor the training to their needs.

I understand I can get my apprenticeship training paid for?

Yes. For all but very large employers, the government pays between 90% and 100% of the training costs of an apprenticeship, depending on the age of the apprentice when he/she starts. For ages 16-18, the Education & Skills Funding Agency pays 100% of the training costs, which for this particular apprenticeship Standard is £26,000 per apprentice. The employer pays £0. For apprentices 19 or over, the employer is required to pay 5-10% of the training costs which is anything up to £740 per year from the employer. Get in touch with one of the training providers for more information.

Can I get info about my apprentice contract of employment?

You should consult an employment specialist if required. In addition to any employment terms, Apprentices must have a very simple apprenticeship agreement with you. A copy of a model agreement is available at or your training provider may be able to help you with this.

Where would I find apprentice candidates?

We recommend you first speak to one of the training providers on this site. They go to great lengths to get the right potential candidates for you to interview. They will advertise for you, screen candidates with an initial assesment and only present candidates that are likely to meet your needs. Apprenticeships have become a very popular alternative to a university degree these days. So don't be surprised to hear that the training provider has chosen between up to 30 applicants for your position.

How much does it cost to employ an apprentice?

You must pay your employee at least the national minimum wage. For an apprentice in their first year of apprenticeship or under 19-years old this is £4.15 per hour but many employers offer more competitive rates than this - £5.00 per hour minimum is more typical. Check-out or the Guide to Apprenticeships for more details.
You must pay your apprentice for holidays. See for more details.
For training costs, as stated elsewhere, this depends on the age of the apprentice when they start. Training is free for 16-18 year olds or costs the employer around £740 per year for age 19+.
Because of the specialized nature of heritage engineering apprenticeship training, it is most likely that this will be delivered often far from you, the employer. Training is normally delivered in week-long "blocks" with the apprentice staying in accomodation along with other trainees from Monday night through Thursday night. There are typically 8 or 9 of these blocks per year and the training providers on this website often arrange suitable low-cost accomodation. Therefore, you may need to budget for an additional £2,000 - £3,000 per year to cover accomodation, travel & subsistence. For employers who can show a need for financial assistance, a limited number of bursaries are available to help with the costs of training which are administered by The Federation Skills Trust (
Do speak with one or more of the training providers on this web-site. They will be able to advise you on costs and programs of training to suit your needs.

How much training do apprentices have to have?

The apprentice needs to receive 20% off-the-job training via an independent training provider. This can be a day per week on so-called 'day-release' or in chunks called 'block release'.
Don’t forget: 80% of the training is provided on-the-job, by you, the employer. You will need to be confident that you have the skills and supervision inside your organization to allow the apprentice to develop skills and knowledge to a level where they are ready for an independent end-point assessment by an external assessor. Your should discuss this with your potential training provider.

How long does the apprenticeship take?

The changes to apprenticeships made in April 2017 mean that you should think about apprenticeships now like preparing for a driving test. In order that the apprentice may successfully pass their end-point assessment, conducted by an external assessor, they need to have demonstrated (and recorded in a project folder) that they have achieved fully-skilled competences and have the sufficient skills and knowledge defined in the Standard, consistent with this being an Advanced Apprenticeship.
The length of time for a person to be judged competent will vary and can be anywhere between a year and one day up to three-and-a-half years. This will depend on any prior skills and knowledge the apprentice may have started with and the level of skills and knowledge they attain during their time with you. Your training provider will agree with you from time to time whether you both think that the apprentice is ready to sit their end-point assessment

Can I give the off-the-job training myself?

No, unless you are a very large company that is registered on the Register of Approved Training Providers as an employer-provider.
'Apprentices' taken on and trained exclusively by you are not apprentices, but are regular employees.

If it doesn’t work out, can I let go of my apprentice?

Your apprentice will be an employee. To that extent, normal employment rules and regulations apply.

What’s the minimum and maximum age?

An apprentice is defined as an individual over the age of 16 who combines working with studying for a work-based qualification. Apprentices can be new or current employees and the apprenticeship will last between 1 and 4 years.
Under the new apprenticeship rules since April 2017, there is no maximum age for an apprentice.

What is the situation in Scotland and Wales?


has a different apprenticeship system and does not yet offer Heritage Engineering Apprenticeships. See: for details of other options.

As in Scotland, the Welsh Apprenticeship Frameworks do not cover Heritage Engineering Apprenticeships yet. See: for other options.

What qualifications do my apprentices need?

Most candidates will typically have GCSE’s (or equivalents) at grades 4 to 9 including English and Maths and possibly a relevant science or engineering based qualification.
Applicants without the appropriate level in English and Mathematics will be considered providing they can demonstrate a genuine interest in engineering heritage and the capability to achieve the appropriate level within the timescale of the apprenticeship. Individual employers will identify additional relevant entry requirements.

What qualifications will my apprentice gain?

There are four levels of apprenticeship qualification:

Level 2 Intermediate - equivalent to GCSE

Level 3 Advanced - equivalent to A level

Level 4-5 Higher - equivalent to Foundation Degree

Level 6-7 Graduate - equivalent to a Degree.
The Heritage Engineering Apprenticeship scheme is a Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship.