Apprenticeships to run for a minimum of 12 months

Apprenticeships for those aged 19 and over should now run for between one and four years, while those being taken by 16 to 18 year olds will be required to last for a minimum of one year.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said the rules were being changed to "raise the bar on standards" among UK apprenticeship schemes.

The majority of apprenticeships are the gold standard in vocational training," said Skills Minister John Hayes. "They boost individuals' life chances and build skills that drive growth. We must be relentless in our drive to ensure all apprenticeships are as good as the best and to identify and root out any instances of poor quality provision," he added.

These changes should not affect Automotive Apprenticeships as the level two programmes are typically delivered in 18-24 months and those at level 3 are completed in 12-18 months.

As part of the changes the National Apprenticeship Service will issue up to 40,000 £1,500 grants to small businesses. These are available to firms with fewer than 250 employees that recruit their first apprentice aged 16-24.

The minimum length change will take effect from August 2012 following consultation with apprenticeship providers and employers.

* Extracted from an article on