The government brings out new apprenticeship funding and schemes regularly, so make sure to return to this page for any updates. Or sign up to our newsletter.
We know that you don’t have time to keep track of every detail and update on apprenticeship funding. Especially given the regular updates due to apprenticeship’s role in the government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ initiative, to help save jobs as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you are looking to take on an apprentice or provide training, we will keep track of what’s going on so you don’t have to.
Please note, that the current guidance on this page is only appropriate for England. If you are looking for information on Scotland, you may want to look at our guide to Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland.
The UK Government recently announced an extension to the incentive payments for employers who hire a new apprentice up to March 2022. The grant, which was originally due to close on 30 November 2021, provided payments of £3,000 for every apprentice employed by a business.
This was in addition to the existing scheme which provides £1,000 for every 16-18 year old, or 19-24-year-old with an Education, Health and Care plan, hired as a new apprentice by an employer.
UPDATE – This scheme has unfortunately now closed as the pandemic appears to be tailing off.
Government funding for covering the costs of training apprentices is different for companies of different sizes.
If your annual pay bill is over £3 million you must pay the Apprenticeship Levy, and you will use that to fund the training costs of your apprenticeships. If you are one of these employers, go to our guide on the Apprenticeship Levy to find out about the provided funding and how the Levy works.
If you are not a levy payer, there are two different ways to fund your apprenticeship training. This is either by registering for and utilising the apprenticeship service or through a funding contract held by your selected training provider.
After agreeing on an amount between yourself and the training provider, the government will cover 95% of the training costs, up to the allocated maximum funding for that apprenticeship. If the agreed sum with your training provider exceeds the funding band maximum, you will have to cover all of the training costs above that limit.
Any costs you have to pay for training will be taken in instalments over the course of the apprenticeship by your training provider.
National Insurance Savings
For apprentices under the age of 25, all employers are exempt from paying employer class 1 National Insurance contributions on earnings below £827 per week, or £43,000 per year. This would cover the vast majority of apprenticeships as it is rare for an apprentice to be paid such a large sum of money.
For example, if you had a 22-year-old apprentice being paid the National Minimum Wage, you would save £1,500 in National Insurance contributions over 12 months. If you were paying that same apprentice the Real Living Wage, that saving would increase to £2,000 over the same period.
If you are in a position to do so, it may be a nice move to top up your apprentice’s wage based on the calculated National Insurance saving you are able to make. This is likely to be appreciated by the apprentice and will make them feel more appreciated and welcome as part of the team.
As part of Rishi Sunak’s 2021 budget, the government announced a further £126 million in funding for traineeships across England.
The government has announced that it was funding £1,000 for every trainee taken on by any employer in England but this was only extended until 31st July 2022, as it was seen as a measure to stimulate the economy in the immediate post-covid aftermath.
Details on how to claim this funding were published on 14th October 2020. To find out more, read our dedicated page about the update on traineeship funding.
Eligibility for Apprenticeship Funding
In order to be eligible to receive funding, your apprenticeship must follow the approved and outlined Apprenticeship Standards.
This means that all apprenticeships have a standardised model of delivery so that apprentices across the country should be learning the same type of things in their apprenticeship area. This allows employers to be sure that someone they hire who has completed an apprenticeship has all of the skills that will be required in the workplace. They will also have acquired the necessary level of knowledge in order to thrive.
To find the right apprenticeship standard for your business, browse our search tool.
Apprenticeship Standard Guidelines
Each Apprenticeship Standard has specific guidelines attached to it, but some of the general guidelines include:
- Provide a lawful wage
- Ensure your apprentice has the required Level 2 English, maths and ICT skills if needed
- Ensure that at least 20% of the apprentice’s work hours are made up of off-the-job training
- Only take on an individual as an apprentice if they require enough training to take 12 months of at least 30 hours a week to be capable of fulfilling the job role
- Do not charge the apprentice for any of the hiring, training or assessment costs
These guidelines are fairly general but they all amount to essentially the same thing. It is about providing the apprentice with a high-quality apprenticeship that will allow them to increase their range of skills and become a valuable employee in the future based on what they have learned.
The guidelines also cover fairness and non-exploitation and these are pretty self-explanatory. Nobody is going to have a good experience where there is exploitation going on, neither the apprentice nor the business that they are employed by and the government rightly wants to safeguard the wellbeing of our young workforce.
If an apprentice doesn’t feel that their apprenticeship is going in the right direction, they are free to leave, just like in any other job, so it is important to ensure that they are treated well and as part of the team. Information on leaving an apprenticeship can be found on our dedicated page.
Yes. If your company employs less than 50 members of staff, the government will cover 100% of the training costs towards an apprentice that is aged 16-18, or aged 19-24 who have previously been in care or who have a Local Authority Education, Health and Care plan. However, as with all government investment into apprenticeship training, they will only cover the costs up to the funding band maximum for that apprenticeship standard.
For those who are not eligible to be fully funded by the government, there is the option for a Levy Transfer. This is where companies who pay the Apprenticeship Levy have an excess that they won’t be able to spend before the 24 month limit runs out, in which they will lose the money in their Levy accounts. Rather than lose their Levy, they can transfer it to another company who is taking on an apprentice.
The only downside to this is it is difficult to find matches for the transferal. Luckily, Employing an Apprentice is currently in the process of developing a nationwide Levy Matching Service. To find out when this service has gone live, sign up to our newsletter below.
There are a number of different ways in which people find out about changes to funding: government announcements; updates to the government website; and conversations with members of the civil service. These can be incredibly confusing to keep track off, especially when a lot of the time one arm of government is saying something different to another. This is often the result of schemes not working out in practice, and so they will change as the government rolls them out.
That is why we endeavour to sift through all the confusion and track down the truth. By coming back to this page, you will find out all the updates on a range of different schemes, grants and funding. To get notified right away about anything new follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter and sign up to our newsletter below.
There are lots of different funding bands for apprenticeships. Even within a particular industry you can have the full range of funding bands. The maximum amount of funding you can receive for a single apprenticeship is £27,000.
However, the funding bands are relative to the usual costs for that training. That means that whichever band the apprenticeship you want to choose has is unlikely to effect the end costs of your apprenticeship. The only time it is important is if you decide to purchase training for an amount above the funding band.