Myth busting

Misunderstandings abound when it comes to apprenticeships. Here are a few of the most common myths we hear from concerned employers. 

So you don’t think apprenticeships are right for your business? Let Tiro persuade you otherwise…

Myth: Apprenticeships are all school leavers. They’re too ‘green’.

Anyone can be an apprentice these days, from age 16 and over. There is no longer an upper age limit. 

Two out of five new apprenticeships begun in 2017/18 were people over 24 years old, but at Tiro our oldest is twice that age! 

This means employers have a wider choice of candidates than you might expect. 

Whatever their age, our candidates nearly always have some work experience behind them. Tiro only shortlists people with the maturity and work ethic they’ll need to be an asset to your business from day one. They are fast learners who will get up to speed quickly, and will be working independently before you know it.

Myth: Apprenticeships are a last resort for people who didn’t get into university.

That’s just not true. Apprenticeships are an active choice for many brilliant candidates, not a last resort.  

Tiro filters all potential candidates through our rigorous recruitment process. We make sure you’ll only see the best of the best – people who are keen to learn, keen to work, and determined to succeed.

Myth: I’ll have to recruit to find the skills I need.

Actually, the perfect candidate could be right under your nose. 

Apprenticeships are a great way to develop your existing members of staff. They can carry on in their job, while gaining a relevant qualification in their field. This can expand their knowledge and their skillset – allowing them to progress within the business.

Around 20% of Tiro apprentices are existing staff.

Myth: Apprentices will be off-site for a day every week

Not necessarily. All training is delivered through a flexible mix of online and on-site training. 

Any on-site training will take place at the apprentice’s usual workplace, at pre-arranged times to suit your business. This is more likely to be delivered every few weeks in five-day blocks, then every single week.

20% of your apprentice’s working hours will be devoted to learning, but we’re really adaptable. The Tiro team will tailor a training programme to suit your organisation.

Myth: They’ll leave as soon as they’ve qualified

You needn’t worry that once you’ve invested in your apprentice, they’ll just take their new skills elsewhere. The vast majority of apprentices are delighted to stay on with their employer once their apprenticeship is complete. 

That’s certainly the way we like it here at Tiro, and we support employers and apprentices to decide on the right next steps for everyone. 

Employers who treat their apprentices well tend to reap the rewards for years to come, as apprentices build on what they’ve learned. It’s also not uncommon for an apprentice to complete a programme and then embark on another apprenticeship at a higher level qualification. 

Plenty more fish in the sea.

Of course, there’s no obligation to keep anyone past their initial programme, and some apprentices do prefer to move around. All that means is there’s a growing pool of qualified, experienced people who have been nurtured by other fantastic employers like you.

Myth: Apprentices take too much time to train.

Like every new starter, your apprentice will need an induction in health and safety, and training to use specific equipment for their role. 

As for learning the ropes in their new job and developing the skills and knowledge they need to become qualified, that’s where our experienced tutors come in. This reduces pressure on your existing workforce.

Also, don’t underestimate the positive effect of having an apprentice on the team. Existing staff often find it really energising to have someone to mentor. Productivity can improve all round. 

It’s rewarding for everyone.

Myth: Apprentice training is really expensive.

Don’t worry, training your apprentice won’t cost an arm and a leg.

For large companies with a total wage bill of over £3 million, you will already pay into the apprenticeship levy, to which the government adds 10%. Any apprentice training costs will be paid from your levy fund. 

In this case you have to use it or lose it – your levy fund expires after two years, on a monthly rolling basis.

Smaller organisations (with a wage bill under £3 million) don’t pay into the apprenticeship levy. In your case, you’ll pay a 5% contribution for apprentice training costs. The remaining 95% is picked up by the government.

For the latest details on the apprenticeship levy and other funding available, visit

It pays to pay well.

On top of these training costs, all employers pay their apprentices’ wages. As you’d expect, if you offer a competitive wage you are more likely to attract and retain a high quality workforce. 

When it comes to setting an apprentice wage, the Tiro team are happy to guide you. The apprentice minimum wage is set by the government and adjusted each year. Also consider the previous qualifications, work experience and life experience you are looking for, as well as your location, industry sector, and the role itself.

Some employers can access incentives and funding towards your apprentice’s wages. Tiro can help you to understand what grants are currently available for your business. Or read the latest government guidance.