How to Employ an Apprentice

Here at the Fashion Technology Academy (FTA), we are the UK’s leading training provider for the fashion and textiles apprenticeship programme in technical garment making skills from Level 2 Sewing to Level 5 Bespoke Tailoring. We are a fully Ofsted regulated training provider with four campuses in total across London, Leicester and Newtown, Wales.

What is an apprenticeship?  

An apprenticeship combines practical hands-on work with the opportunity to train and study for an accredited qualification. The apprentice spends 80% of their time with you the employer applying the knowledge and skills they acquire during the 20% of their time spent training at the FTA.

Why hire an apprentice?

Hiring an apprentice is an inexpensive solution to finding highly motivated support staff for your team; we prepare our apprentices for junior roles across the fashion and textiles sector including fashion studio assistant, product technology, stitching, pattern cutting, production, sourcing and bespoke tailoring.

Our apprentices are training in specific skills relevant to fashion and textiles by industry professionals utilising a live factory environment, masterclasses and enrichment activities. All FTA tutors and assessors are practicing professional with many years of industry experience.

  • 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation
  • 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity
  • 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service

Other benefits of working with apprentices include:

  • you can adapt their training according to the needs of your business
  • they’re motivated to learn new skills
  • you can expand and upskill your workforce

How does the funding work? 

Apprenticeship levy payers 

  • All employers in the UK with a payroll bill greater than £3 million per year will pay the levy charged at 0.5 of payroll based on HMRC PAYE.
  • Your ‘digital account’ can allocate funds directly to Fashion Enter training to pay for the costs of the apprenticeship training.


Non levy employers (under £3m payroll)  

As an employer that doesn’t pay the apprenticeship levy, you pay just 5% towards the cost of training and assessing an apprentice.

The government will pay the rest up to the funding band maximum.

You’ll pay the training provider directly and agree on a payment schedule.

If you employ fewer than 50 employees, the government will pay 100% of the apprenticeship training costs up to the funding band maximum for apprentices aged:

16 to 18.

19 to 24 with an education, health and care plan provided by their local authority or has been in the care of their local authority.

If you exceed the funding band maximum, you’ll need to pay all the additional costs.


16-18 Employers Incentives  

Employers / SME’s with under 50 employees can have 100% of their training costs paid in full if the apprentice is aged 16-18.

Employers receive an additional £1,000 when they employ a 16–18-year-old apprentices to pay towards the extra support younger apprentices need. This is paid directly from the government in £500 instalments on 90 days and 365 days.


Apprenticeship Standards 

You can hire an apprenticeship in any of the following apprenticeship standards:

Apprenticeship standard  Level  Length of course (this does not include EPA period)  Training costs  Non levy training costs 
Sewing Machinist Level 2 12 months £4,000 £200
Fashion Studio Assistant Level 3 18 months £8,000 £400
Pattern Cutter Level 3 22 months £9,000 £450
Product Technologist Level 4 22 months £9,000 £450
Bespoke Tailor and Cutter Level 5 24 months £15,000 £750

Apprentice Eligibility:  

Apprentices can be any age but generally 16 – 24 years old and must have a minimum of 5 GCSEs with grades 4 – 9 or A – C in Maths and English.

An apprentice cannot have a fashion related degree.

How does it work? 


Recruiting an apprentice is simple. We can assist with the complete process from helping to create the job description, promoting the role, recruitment, facilitating interviews, the enrolment process and the training.

All our candidates are vetted and selected for their ability to demonstrate talent, commitment and a passion for the industry.

Our employment team will provide you with a shortlist of the best candidates for interview. You can also recommend internal candidates.


Apprentice Wage and hours 

An apprentice must be paid a minimum of £4.81 per hour for the first 12 months then this increases to the national minimum wage for their age. The apprentice works a minimum of 30 hours a week with you the employer and in addition five hours training each week which the apprentice is also paid for. A 35-hour week is therefore a minimum of £150.50 a week. This is paid via your normal payroll system. Many employers pay more to support the high living costs in London.


Contract of Employment  

An apprentice must be provided with a contract or employment as you would with any employee.


Off the Job training 

This apprenticeship is made up of both college and work-based learning. With our support units can be selected to create a tailored training package suitable for the required role. We can select a day of the week the apprentice is released for training that mutually works for both parties.

End point assessment 

Apprentice undertakes a more intensive period of study in preparation for their end point assessment that will include; interview with end point assessor, workplace observation and a workplace project/case study.


Join the movement 

Whether you are a small or large employer, subject to the levy or not, changes to funding can represent opportunities to grow your workforce through apprenticeships at the FTA.

For support on any aspect of apprenticeship funding and how to get started please contact:


End Point Assessment Fees  

Fees for employer do occur for End Point Assessment.  This is a typical outline of fees below from the Skills Education Group – the awarding body that FCFTA works with.

The following fees are to be read in conjunction with Clause 4 and Clause 7 of the Agreement. All fees are fully inclusive and are not subject to VAT.

1             Standard Fees 




At Cost (per Apprentice)

If an Apprentice is requested to transfer to another Main Contractor


When Apprentices details are requested changing (beyond the facilities that are provided via the Assessment Organisations PEPA)


2             Standard Specific Fees 

Level 3 Fashion Studio Assistant 

Ref: ST0173 

Assessment Services Fees  Fee Per Apprentice 
Registration Fee


Registration on the Assessment Organisations PEPA can be any time prior to the gateway but must be within 10 working days of gateway progression (see Section 4.5)
Gateway Progression Fee


As per Section 4.5
Completion of All Components Fee


Total Fee


Resits  Fee Per Apprentice Per Resit   
Work Based Project




Non Completion (Partial Fee) 


Work Based Project


Up to a maximum of £1034.  Fee applies for any completed component upon notification of the withdrawal from the Apprenticeship and / or whereby the Apprentice does not complete all required components provided as part of the Assessment Services within the timescale set out in the Standard and no extension has been granted
Cancellation Fee Per Component Per Apprentice Per Cancellation 

As per EPA Cancellation and Rescheduling Policy

Non Attendance Fee Per Apprentice Per Scheduled Assessment Date 

As per EPA Cancellation and Rescheduling Policy

Relates to absence, non-attendance or the inability of the Assessment Organisation to undertake the assessment/s on the day of a scheduled assessment with no prior notice received and confirmed by the Assessment Organisation before the end of the working day prior to the date of the scheduled assessment.