More finance for the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) scheme and degree level and postgraduate apprenticeships.
In the Budget statement the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced new funding packages to further encourage small businesses to take on more apprenticeships and to support degree level and postgraduate apprenticeships.
Apprenticeship grant for employers
Extra funding will support demand for AGE in 2014 to 2015 and the scheme will focus entirely on small businesses (ie those with fewer than 50 employees) from January 2015.
£170 million of additional finance will be made available, made up of £85 million in 2014 to 2015 and £85 million in 2015 to 2016, split across the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education, as the initiative covers the 16 to 24 age bracket.
The benefits include:
- removing any barriers to smaller businesses taking on new apprentices - AGE has been very successful at this
- employers, who have not had an apprentice in the last year, can receive a £1,500 grant for up to the first 10 apprentices they employ in their business
- the extension of the grant into 2015 to 2016 will ensure apprenticeship take-up by small businesses continues to be supported as we make the transition to reformed apprenticeships based on the new standards
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
AGE has been very successful in encouraging smaller businesses to take on their first apprentices.
With the appetite for apprenticeships growing, this new £170 million investment and programme expansion will give a boost to smaller businesses and enable us to meet the higher than anticipated demand for the scheme over the next 2 years.
Degree and postgraduate apprenticeships
£20 million of new finance is also being committed to further support degree level and postgraduate apprenticeships. This is being allocated as £10 million in 2014 to 2015 and £10 million in 2015 to 2016.
This investment will part-fund the training of degree level or postgraduate apprentices, with the rest of the cost of the training met by the employer.
The main points are:
- government is committing an extra £20 million over 2 years to support those individuals who want to get ahead and complete a degree or postgraduate apprenticeship
- the benefits of degree and postgraduate apprenticeships are than an apprentice can achieve a degree or postgraduate qualification while earning a wage and getting an insight into a proper working environment
- we have supported over 13,000 degree level apprenticeships since 2010 and this figure is continuing to grow
- we want it to be the new norm for young people to choose either an apprenticeship or go to university once they leave school
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
We want it to be the new norm that young people either choose to go to university or begin an apprenticeship.
Additional funding to support degree level apprenticeships will make this a reality and also put universities and vocational education on the same footing.
Matthew Hancock, Minister for Skills and Enterprise said:
I would like to welcome the extension of Apprenticeship Grant for Employers as this has supported many small businesses across the country to recruit their first apprentices.
From January 2015, the funding will be focused on businesses with fewer than 50 employees, which means we will be able to support those that often face barriers to recruiting apprentices.
Along with going to university, becoming an apprentice should be seen as the new norm for young people. By supporting more businesses in the coming 2 years, we will be able offer even more opportunities for potential apprentices to begin their career in a range of sectors.
During National Apprenticeship Week (3 to 7 March 2014) businesses pledged to take on 20,000 new apprentices and research released at the beginning of March showed that almost half (44%) of businesses in the country plan to take on apprentices in the next 5 years.
The GREAT Business campaign has a wealth of information for employers about hiring apprentices, and about the government support available. There are also some terrific case studies on the GREAT Business website demonstrating the vital role that apprenticeships play in the UK economy.