Last reviewed 16 March 2020

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has launched a new league table of top apprenticeship employers, which will rate the Top 100 large apprenticeship employers and top 50 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The aim is to celebrate some of the country’s outstanding apprenticeship employers and will assist potential apprentices, parents and careers advisors to identify the best apprenticeship opportunities with the highest performing apprentice employers in England.

In this new initiative, which will become an annual event, the best employers will be recognised for providing some of the most successful apprenticeship programmes over the previous 12 months.

Large employers are defined as those with 250 employees or more and employing a minimum of 25 apprentices, while SME employers employ fewer than 250 people and have at least five apprentices.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “This new league table is a chance to showcase how apprenticeships have transformed businesses and changed lives. There are hundreds of employers of all sizes, up and down the country, providing people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to learn new skills and have successful careers”.

He explained that the rankings have been developed in partnership with High Fliers Research, who will independently assess and compile the new national leader board of top apprenticeship employers.

Apprenticeship employers in every industry and employment sector — from accountancy, fashion and law to teaching, nursing and engineering — are invited to enter with immediate effect and before 5pm on 9 April.

The results will be announced at a special launch event for apprenticeship employers in the summer of this year. See for full details.

Comment by Andy Willis, Head of Legal at Croner

This new initiative could prove to be beneficial for employers who do make use of apprenticeships, potentially being a key way of attracting talented individuals who wish to go down this particular career pathway.

What is interesting to note is the initiative is taking into account companies of varied sizes, allowing for the fact that smaller companies will likely manage apprentices in different ways to their larger counterparts.

The Government remains keen to encourage and develop apprentices and, to this end, taking part in this initiative could help improve the overall reputation and increase the exposure of a company.

Employers who do wish to take part may, therefore, want to assess the effectiveness of current apprenticeship schemes that their company provides and make changes if necessary.