No, it is an employers responsibility to pay apprentice wages. However, training costs and other subsidies related to apprenticeships are often covered by the UK government.
If you are an employer concerned about funding apprenticeship training, you can go to the Government website to learn more about the apprenticeship levy and how to claim. Government help is available depending on where in the UK you live. Generally speaking, you will pay 5% of the cost of training, with the Government paying the remaining 95%. Some funding is also available for younger apprenticeships (16-18 year-olds) and apprentices who have been in care.
As an employer, you will need to pay at least the minimum wage for each apprentice’s age group. As of 2023 this is £5.28 an hour for 16-18-year-olds.