Incentives available for apprenticeship schemes

Incentives available for apprenticeship schemes
2012-05-23 16:59:19

Business owners thinking they can’t afford to take on an apprentice can think again: small businesses with fewer than 250 employees can now apply for a grant of up to £1,500 when they take on their first apprentice.

What they may not know – but should – is that central government will pick up the bill for a minimum of 50% of training costs – and in many cases, the whole amount will be funded.

As well as contributions from central government, businesses taking on apprentices between the ages of 16 and 24 can apply for one of up to 40,000 apprenticeship grants from the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS).

NAS Chief Executive David Way says “In the past, smaller firms have been deterred from hiring an apprentice due to perceived logistical, training and administrative costs, but the new incentives are encouraging greater involvement.”

It’s always possible for businesses to outsource their training programmes, and the NAS, training providers, colleges and Apprenticeship Training Agencies (ATAs) have made a positive impact on the accessibility and quality of these training schemes.

Simon Greenleaf, strategy and partnership executive at the London Apprenticeship Company, says: “ATAs take away all the hassle of promoting the job, sourcing candidates, short-listing, recruiting, managing holiday and sick pay, instructing learning, and contracting a training provider.

“Small and medium enterprises can really benefit from outsourcing all that to a professional company with a good track record that can just do it all for them.”

He adds that apprentice training is all about quality: “It’s about making the apprenticeship a quality job with real longer-term progression opportunities.

“The key is that an employer creates a real job vacancy as part of a human resources plan that considers the staff they require in three to four years’ time. This way an apprentice can grow into that position.”

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Paul Champion

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Twitter: @blogapprentice
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