The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) is offering up to 40,000 Apprenticeship Grants to small and medium sized businesses (employing less than 250 employees), to the value of £1,500, that recruit their first apprentice aged 16 to 24 years old.
Last year, despite difficult labour market conditions, over 270,000 16-24 year olds started an Apprenticeship, but the Government is keen that many more young people are given the opportunity to benefit and take their first steps on the career ladder.
Skills Minister John Hayes said “By reviving apprenticeships, this Government is helping thousands of young people discover the purposeful pride that builds successful careers, thriving firms and strong communities.
“In the past smaller firms have been deterred from hiring an apprentice due to perceived logistical, training and administrative costs but the new incentives of £1,500 are encouraging SMEs to give thousands of young people a great start to their working life.”
Small and medium sized businesses, across all sectors that have not employed an apprentice in the last three years may be eligible for the grant, which is called AGE. The £1,500 grant is in addition to the training costs of the chosen Apprenticeship framework, which are met in full for 16-18 year olds and 50% for those aged 19-24. Employers will be required to commit to employing an apprentice for a minimum of 12 months, or the time it takes for the apprentice to complete their programme.
The network of quality assured approved Apprenticeship training providers will support the employer through the whole process, including placing their vacancy on Apprenticeship vacancies, the official free online recruitment service for Apprenticeships in England, which is managed by NAS. They will also check the employers’ eligibility, devise the right training plan for the business and claim the grant on behalf of the employer.
David Way, Chief Executive of NAS, said “I would encourage all small and medium sized businesses considering recruiting an apprentice for the first time to find out more about the grant. There has never been a better time for employers to introduce Apprenticeships to their business and see first hand the positive impact they can have on the workforce and profitability, and at the same time provide life changing employment and progression opportunities for young people.”