Cash incentives to help small businesses take on young apprentices have been extended for another year, the Government announced today.
The £1,500 Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) of 16 to 24 year olds was launched in February 2012 to help employers secure the skills they need to grow, and encourage them to give young people a chance.
Now, because of the positive response from employers, the initiative will continue for a further year. It has also been increased so small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can claim the grant for up to ten apprentices.
Business Secretary, Vince Cable said: “I know it can be a big decision for busy small companies to take on an apprentice. Employers may be concerned about the time recruitment and training will take, and anxious about how it will work.
“So the £1500 grant is a token to acknowledge this and thank employers. I hope many more people will take us up on our cash incentive to grow their business, and train up the workforce of the future.”
The Government has recently responded to employer feedback to make the scheme even more accessible:
- The £1500 incentive is now paid as a single instalment, rather than being split over two payments
- The period of time between an employer last taking on an apprentice, and being eligible to apply forthe grant, has been reduced to a year
- The number of apprentices employers can claim the grant for has been increased to 10
- Access to the scheme has been widened, and is now available to businesses with up to 1000 employees.
The National Apprenticeship Service hopes the grant will encourage more employers to consider recruiting through Apprenticeships, which now cover more than 250 skills and industries across 1,400 job roles and three Apprenticeship levels.
David Way, Chief Executive of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “We know that many businesses believe Apprenticeships deliver the skills needed in order to grow so we are delighted that AGE 16-24 has been positively received by employers for helping them to do just that.
“Apprenticeships come with a guarantee of quality, giving young people a job with training, and are proven to deliver a significant return on investment, so this really is a win-win initiative for employers. There has never been a better time to recruit an apprentice, so I hope more organisations will look at how they can benefit from this grant over the coming 12 months and reap the rewards of a more motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.”
Matthew Boyer, owner of Boyer’s Body Centre in Cromer, was one of the first employers to take up AGE 16 to 24 earlier this year, employing apprentice Myles Couzens, and is already seeing the benefits of growing his business through the Apprenticeship programme: “Myles has been a great help - not only can he manage the general duties that stop me having to pull a fully qualified man off his job, I am able to train him up, get him on to different jobs, and grow him in our own mould. Apprentices can be a great investment for your company - the grant provides support for small companies like mine so that we don’t miss out on all that Apprenticeships can offer.”
Myles Couzens found his Apprenticeship at Boyer’s Body Centre via the website in April and hasn’t looked back since: “My Apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to learn on the job while I earn and I’m already on my way to gaining nationally recognised qualifications. It has been a great opportunity for me.”
To find out more about Apprenticeships and AGE 16 to 24 or to search for a vacancy, visit apprenticeships.org.uk or call 08000 150 600.