Apprentices, to CITB or not to CITB??

Thinking of taking on an apprentice? The BTG guide – what every small builder needs to know!

So, you’ve decided it’s time to take on a youngster, question is, do you go through the CITB, or take on your mate’s son (he’s really keen, honest!)

Maybe the thought of taking on a CITB apprentice seems a bit scary, surely that’s just for the big firms, right?

Wrong, first of all, you need to work out if you are classed as an employer by the CITB – the classification they have is that you are an employer if you have one or more employees, including PAYE staff and/or subcontractors.

If you meet these criteria your next step is to register with the CITB. Don’t panic, this doesn’t mean you’re going to have to pay the levy, all employers with a total wage bill of less than £80,000 are exempt, but can still claim grants for apprentices. This can be up to £9,000 over the life of the apprenticeship and CITB will pay all college fees (this may be age restricted in some countries – something to check!) Your apprentice may also get help with travel and accommodation costs. You will, however, still need to compete a levy return, even if you don’t pay it.

Perhaps you are put off by the amount of paperwork you’re going to have to fill in???

Don’t let it, any paperwork involved for an apprentice you take on through the CITB will be completed by their CITB officer, as well as Health and Safety inspections and reviews of your apprentice in the workplace and the training centre – you’ll also get feedback on these too! Plus, the CITB will pay your apprentice direct, so you don’t even have to worry about that.

So, how do you get your shiny new apprentice? You’ve got a couple of options:

  1. Nip down the pub, there is always someone in who knows a mate’s, brother’s, uncle’s, dog walker’s friend’s son looking for a job…….or
  2. Get yourself on the CITB website, check it out for yourself and then make your mind up.

The choice is yours! But just to help you, here are a few pro’s and con’s…….


Local Lad

Pro’s Con’s



Proper training in approved colleges. You’ll lose them for short periods of time, while they are at college. You have them on the job, all the time. You’ll have to train him/her yourself without the support of any external bodies.
Grants are available for training. You’ll have to pay for them to go to college/attend any training courses appropriate.
There will be a formal contract, which protects your rights as well as you apprentices. No contract, you can get rid of them when you want, but they can join the Monday club too!
They may get funding for travel. They may live a distance away. Usually live close by. Will probably expect picking up.
They get paid directly from the CITB, you can top up if you want to. Cheap. Are they motivated to stay in construction?


So, if option 1 is your choice – get the kid’s number (after all they’ll definitely have a mobile phone in their hand most of the time) make arrangements with them via a text message (isn’t that how everyone does business nowadays???) you can even throw in some emojis for good measure, maybe not the kissy one though, after all you’re the boss, you need to look professional! Then just hope they turn up….

Or option 2. Get in touch with CITB, you can even register your vacancy online, they will help you organise interviews and even help with the associated costs, whether the interview is successful or not. To find out more, click on the link

So don’t delay, look into getting an apprentice today, it could be a great way to grow your business and you’re giving a youngster a good start in a great industry, that’s where I started!

2 thoughts on “Apprentices, to CITB or not to CITB??

  • Doug Logan
    24th December 2018 at 7:21 am

    I find it incredible that I have put numerous people through college over the past few years as apprentice carpenters but due to my personal lack of qualifications I can’t get a cscs card to get site work. I worked for a carpentry company for 15 years but apparently that’s not enough !! I can pay £1500 to get assessed on site but begrudge paying that amount as feel it’s a complete rip off.

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