In most cases, not the apprentice.

If you’re between the ages of 16 and 24, you won’t have to fund your own tuition, it's your employer and the government who cover the fees.

For those a little older and wiser, it depends on your employer. If you’re over 25, you may be asked to contribute towards the cost of your training, but it's worth asking at the interview stage so you know what you’re getting into.

But don’t worry, if you do have to contribute to the cost of training, you may be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan which makes things a lot more manageable.

In most cases, an apprenticeship can offer you a debt-free route to a qualification, whatever level of study you’re at. 

Joe, apprentice at Caterpillar

For me, the great thing about apprenticeships is that you can study at your own pace, while getting the qualifications you want to progress without any debt – and still get paid the money you need to get by.

So, who pays for the training?

In short, your employer does.

Employers want to invest in your talent, and the valuable insight you can bring to their business through your study.

But they don’t do it alone – they get financial support from the government, thanks to an initiative to promote vocational and practical skills training through apprenticeship programmes.

How does the Government help?

They support business offering apprenticeships through levies (that’s a tax, not a knock-off pair of jeans) issued to businesses who pay more than £3 million in salaries each year.

Using the money gained from the apprenticeship levy with some additional backing of their own, they allow 'approved' providers of all sizes to claim back the money they spend on training.

Warning: it’s about to get technical.

The amount a business will receive from the government is proportional to the levy they declare to HMRC, multiplied by the proportion of their bill paid to their eligible workforce, plus a 10% government top-up.

Simple stuff.

For full information, read the’s guide to apprenticeship funding

Who pays my wages?

Your employer does, this time without any support from the Government. Whatever wage you agree in your contract of employment.

Like any job, both sides have rights and responsibilities to honour. Before you start, you’ll have to scribble your name on two legal documents:

The apprenticeship agreement, which details everything you need to know about your employment duration, training, qualifications, and working conditions.

And the commitment statement, which is all about the content and training schedule, the support you’ll have, and a complaints procedure if you want to raise any issues.

Wages vary greatly depending on your age, profession and employer. Find out how much you could earn while you learn.

So, what do I need to pay for?

Just the cost of living. That’s your rent, bills, food, clothing, entertainment, travel, socialising, late night internet purchases, etc.

You’ll receive a wage from your employer that should help you get by, but it’s up to you to manage your finances and keep yourself in the black.

You can always talk to your workplace mentor or student support team if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed about managing your finances. You’ll never be short of helping hands either at work or your training provider.   

If you need financial help to pay for things like childcare, or travel necessary to you training, then you can apply for the advanced learner loan bursary fund. 

Take a look at our full guide to money, finance, and funding.

What if I have additional needs? Can I apply for more funding or support?

All providers have a support structure in place for students with additional needs, but you’ll need to talk to your employer and training provider before you start to make sure everything you need to succeed is in place from day one.

Here’s a really useful guide to disability support for apprentices from Disability Rights UK that should help you find the right course for your needs.