Employing an apprentice FAQs

The UK salon and spa industry is growing rapidly...

And so is the need for trained, skilled therapists. Beauty therapy apprenticeships are proving to be a valuable way for employers to harness new talent and creative ideas and offer young people the chance to develop rewarding and long-term careers. 

Here are some answers to the questions you may have as an employer interested in recruiting an apprentice:

 For more information about employing an apprentice, please call 01452 414770 or email [email protected]

Q. Can I offer an apprenticeship to an existing employee?

Yes. Apprenticeships apply to both existing employees who wish to expand their skills and to new members of staff, enabling you to grow your team or fill skills gaps. Our apprenticeships are suitable for anyone over the age of 16 and not in full-time education and are designed for those who would like to obtain a recognised vocational beauty therapy qualification while working in a spa or salon.

Q. What salary am I expected to pay an apprentice?

The apprentice is paid a minimum wage of £3.90 per hour for 16 – 18 year olds and those aged 19+ who are in their first year1. You can of course choose to pay more and offer increases as the apprentice progresses through their course.

Apprentices must be paid for time spent training at IBHA.

If you are recruiting an existing employee as an apprentice, their salary cannot be reduced.

Q. How many hours a week do I need to employ an apprentice for?

Apprentices must be employed for a minimum of 30 hours per week for the duration of the apprenticeship. This must allow time for the apprentice to master practical skills and complete assignments. IBHA recommends two hours per week ‘off the job training’ which should be spent developing the apprentice’s skills within their work environment. Apprentices will normally achieve 7 hours ‘off the job training’ each day they attend IBHA.

Q. Does the apprentice need a contract of employment?

Yes. An apprentice is treated just like any other employee and the usual terms and conditions apply, including holiday allowance and sick pay (if applicable).

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the apprentice is working in a safe environment and to support them in their programme.

Q. Does a Level 3 apprentice need to have completed their Level 2?

No. Each qualification is independent of the other unless the awarding body has set a pre-requisite.

Q. How long is the apprenticeship programme?

The Level 2 Beauty Therapy Standard apprenticeship takes place over 15 months. The apprentice qualifies in individual units during the first 12 months to achieve their Level 2 VTCT qualification. In the following three months, the employer and IBHA tutors will decide when the apprentice is ready to carry out their End Point Assessment (EPA), which tests both practical skills and theoretical knowledge, to achieve their apprenticeship certificate.

The Level 3 Beauty Therapy Massage apprenticeship takes place over 12 months. The apprentice qualifies in individual units to achieve their Level 3 VTCT qualification. Currently, there is no EPA for Level 3.

The Level 4 Salon and Spa Management apprenticeship takes place over 13 months. The apprentice is required to complete a number of unitised assignments during the course. The employer and IBHA tutors will then decide when the apprentice is ready to carry out their EPA, which involves a professional discussion, a business presentation and assignment submission to achieve their apprenticeship certificate.

Q. Can IBHA offer bespoke apprenticeships to meet the needs of my business?

Yes, if you have six or more apprentices, we can prioritise units taught according to your business needs. We can also work with your product suppliers to provide relevant and appropriate training at certain times throughout the apprenticeship to suit your business needs and seasonal variants.

1. GOV.UK Become an apprentice, April 2019.

Find out more

Interested in employing an apprentice? Here is some information to explain your options and help you get started.

What employers say

"IBHA has been instrumental in bringing Eden Hotel Collection's spa apprenticeship vision to life and integral to ensuring that we launch a quality based training provision, for this increasingly undervalued skillset. From our initial meeting, we were instantly impressed with Julie and Debbie's wealth of experience, specialist knowledge, passion for the industry and most importantly, the quality in all they do."

"We are very proud to have created the first academy of its kind in partnership with IBHA and in not only creating roles for young people new to the industry but also developing and broadening their skills outside of a traditional college environment. We greatly value the relationship with IBHA and look forward to a long and collaborative working relationship." - Lisa Redding, Head of HR for the Eden Hotel Collection, February 2019