Merchant Apprentice Training

Merchant Apprentice Training
The BMF Apprentice Scheme is a highly effective way to train staff to work effectively and competently. Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes, designed around the needs of employers. The BMF Apprenticeship courses lead to nationally recognised qualifications. Merchants can use the BMF Apprentice Scheme to train both new and existing employees. In most cases in England, funding is available to train apprentices, with some availability of funding in Scotland and Wales. The minimum duration of a BMF Apprenticeship is 12 months, depending on the job role and the qualification.

Apprenticeships overview  
The BMF Apprentice Scheme is a highly effective way to train staff to work effectively and competently. Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes, designed around the needs of employers. The BMF Apprenticeship courses lead to nationally recognised qualifications.   Merchants can use the BMF Apprentice Scheme to train both new and existing employees. In most cases in England, funding is available to train apprentices, with some availability of funding in Scotland and Wales.  

The minimum duration of a BMF Apprenticeship is 12 months, depending on the job role and the qualification. The available qualifications are: Customer Service Team Leading Warehousing and Storage Business Administration Management Trade Business Services    

There are two levels of Apprenticeship available:  
Intermediate Level Apprenticeships Apprentices work towards a Level 2 qualification that includes an NVQ demonstrating practical skills, a Technical Certificate demonstrating knowledge and understanding; and Functional Skills (English, Maths and ICT for team leading). Progression from an intermediate level apprenticeship could include an advanced level apprenticeship in a management qualification, for example.
Advanced Level Apprenticeships Apprentices work towards Level 3 qualifications that includes NVQ a Technical Certificate demonstrating knowledge and understanding; and Functional Skills (English, Math’s and ICT for management). Progression from an advanced level apprenticeship could include an apprenticeship framework at Level 4 or the BMF Diploma in Merchanting.  

As BMF Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes, most of the training is ‘on the job’.   You must give your apprentices an induction into their role and provide on-the-job training.

You are also responsible for paying your apprentices’ wages; for a minimum of 30 hours per week for the duration of the Apprenticeship; and providing training support.  

The BMF Apprentice Training programme is managed and delivered by Didac Limited, a highly experienced national training provider with particular expertise in the merchant and woodworking sector. As a nationally recognised training company, Didac is regularly inspected by a variety of stakeholders including OFSTED, who recently judged Didac as an Outstanding training provider.  

Didac will provide you, the employer, with an experienced trainer/assessor who will be able to support and guide both you and the apprentice during the course. They will work with you to:
  • Help you decide which Apprenticeship is right for your employee
  • Explain the way that Apprenticeships work and if funding is available
  • Agree a training plan with your apprentice
  • Help you recruit an apprentice or support your existing staff into Apprenticeships
  • Manage the training and evaluation
  • Ensure that national quality standards are met and deliver integrated, coherent training.

Didac has a contract with the Skills Funding Agency, which enables builders’ merchants to benefit from government funding targeted at apprentice training. The size of the contribution varies, depending on the qualification, the age of the candidate and the size of the employer. If the apprentice is aged 16–18 years old, you will receive 100 per cent of the cost of the training; if they are 19–23 years old, you will receive up to 50 per cent; if they are 24 years old or over, you, or the individual apprentice, may have  

At March 2017 the apprentice minimum wage for 16 to 18 year olds is £3.50 per hour and applies to working time and time spent training Employers are free to pay for the entirety of the training. Some flexibilities and short term funding opportunities can apply, so it’s worth discussing your training needs with Didac to see what funding is currently available. All funding is paid directly to Didac.

Employers are free to pay above the new wage and many do so, but employers must ensure that they are paying their apprentices at least the minimum wage. For 19 year olds and over past their first year of employment, they get the rate that applies to their age.   If an apprentice is on a higher wage, the employer must continue to pay that for the remainder of the training or until the apprentice becomes eligible for the full national minimum wage.  

Apprenticeships are subject to eligibility and funding rules, which are different for each country in the UK. In all cases, please contact Didac on 0845 4756652 or email info@didac.co.uk requesting funding information on BMF Apprenticeships.    

Apprenticeship Levy
The Apprenticeship Levy will require all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3 million each year, to make an investment in Apprenticeships (0.5% of their annual pay bill). The aim of the Apprenticeship Levy is to improve the quality and quantity of Apprenticeships in England and so it can meet the government target of 3 million Apprenticeships by 2020. An additional major facet of the Levy is providing a sustainable workforce and bridge the skills gap affecting many industries. The Levy will come into effect in April 2017.  

Please contact the BMF for more details on the levy and how it may affect your business on 02476 854980.  
Where
England

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