NHS issues guidance on apprenticeships

The NHS Staff Council has issued guidance on apprenticeships in the NHS to support employers and local partnerships.

The guidance aims to support employers in considering the options available to them in relation to pay and conditions of apprentices in the NHS.

The guidance gives general requirements for apprenticeships including: they are to support progression into genuine job roles and must not be created purely for the purposes of the apprenticeship programme; their minimum duration is 12 months, at least 20 per cent of their time must be spent on off-the-job training, and they must be allowed to complete the apprenticeship within their working hours; and they must received a statutory minimum rate if under 19, or over 19 and in the first year of the apprenticeship.

Government guidance also states that apprentices must be offered the same conditions as other employees working at similar grades or in similar roles within an organisation, such as paid holidays and sick pay, and that apprentices are expected to be recognised as a genuine and sustainable investment in the future NHS workforce.

The government also requires that new apprentices have access to the NHS pension scheme in accordance with auto-enrolment legislation even if an apprentice does not meet the age and earnings criteria to be eligible for automatic enrolment.

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