What is Step Ahead’s Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA)?

If you’re interested in recruiting an apprentice but, for whatever reason, are concerned about committing to a full apprenticeship, our Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA) could well be the right option for you.

Step Ahead’s Apprenticeship Training Agency provides a unique method of recruiting apprentices. The Apprentices are employed by us but placed with you as a Host Employer to work with, you get all the benefits of an apprentice without actually employing them whilst we recruit, employ and arrange training for them.

The Step Ahead ATA model was designed to deliver high quality Apprenticeship programmes primarily with a focus on Public Sector organisations and smaller employers. There are numerous reasons to use an ATA including:

  • being unable to commit to the full framework
  • short term restrictions on employee numbers or salary budgets
  • uncertainty about the value of an Apprenticeship

Step Ahead are the Apprentices Employer

The distinctive feature of the ATA model is that it is Step Ahead as the ATA which is the apprentice’s employer not you, the apprentices are placed with you as a host employer. You pay the fee for the apprentice’s services based on the wage agreed (at least the minimum Apprentice rate) and the ATA management fee.

Your apprentices’ references, right to work and documentation are all taken care of on your behalf, which means you can have complete peace of mind in their eligibility, knowing they have been stringently checked.

If circumstances change and you are unable to retain the apprentice we will find appropriate alternative employment for them, giving them the reassurance that they can continue their Apprenticeship.

Responsibility for the wages, tax, National Insurance, as well as administration and performance management, are all taken care of by Step Ahead as the ATA, one of your roles is the supervision of the apprentice during the Apprenticeship period and to train them in your workplace.

The ATA is not a ‘temporary work’ business but rather a means to manage and give real flexibility to the delivery of a high quality Apprenticeship. This flexibility also applies where employers may not be able to offer all aspects of a framework but linking them with other host employers allows the full range to be covered.

For the apprentice the ATA gives another route into an Apprenticeship which can offer them the opportunity to experience a range of employers and increased security around the continuation of their Apprenticeship.

Training, Qualifications and Support

Additional training will either be completed by Step Ahead’s training team or by qualified trainers through links with our approved training providers. There will be support for both the apprentice in their pursuit of a qualification and you as the host employer, throughout the duration of the Apprenticeship.

Step Ahead will match the right trainer with the apprentices and with your organisation. Part of our role is hand holding, managing and co-ordination for the training provider, the apprentice and for you as the host employer. For example, we’ll liaise with you to determine the best time to visit in order to deliver training for the apprentices, it’s all about maximising the efficacy of and for all.

Step Ahead will manage the smooth running of the relationship between you, the trainer and apprentices providing the all-important pastoral care.

We are the pivot point, the protagonist, we drive it to ensure its success.

Payment and Budgets

A Step Ahead ATA apprentice is not paid from your salary budget. As they are not salaried it means payment can come from an entirely different budget. If you have an apprentice administrator they can be paid for from your Admin budget as you’re invoiced for their time as a service.

You only pay for the hours they work. We pay them according to their contract.

This is a distinct advantage where organisations are committed to the apprenticeship model (e.g. to make apprentices 2.3% of the workforce) but there’s not a salaries budget to create the jobs. There may be no job vacancies or perhaps there’s a headcount limit – Step Ahead’s ATA Apprentices are ideal in these situations.

Preparing Apprentices to Fill Future Posts

Where there are anticipated staff shortages you are able to bring in apprentices via the Step Ahead ATA programme and, as and when the vacancies exist, those apprentices can apply … so you have a pipeline of partially or even fully trained candidates.

Step Ahead make no charge for conversion from ATA apprentice to permanent employee so it’s an excellent way to try a person’s suitability to a role, train them and ensure they fit the bill before the new vacancy arises.

The 2017 Apprenticeship Levy

You’ll have heard of the Government’s proposed Apprentice Levy – whereby employers who pay over £3m in the UK from both the private and public sectors will be required to pay 0.5% into a levy – to be used to fund the three million apprenticeships targeted to be in place by 2020.

When the levy comes in to play in 2017 it will provide the solution to the issue. The apprentices are workers, additional to the salaried payroll, who are getting better and better as they progress. You’ll be able to source the right people with the right attitude and prepare them for a future career.

If you have any questions regarding Step Ahead’s Apprenticeship Training Agency Programme, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Want to get started?

If you are recruiting staff, permanent or temporary, looking for apprentices or training staff contact us today.

Who We Work With

Here are just a few of the organisations who regularly trust us to help them achieve their objectives through great people.

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