Government offers small businesses grants of up to £15,000 to take on apprentices

Application date for apprenticeship scheme extended to March 2014

The government has expanded the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers of 16-24 year-olds (AGE 16-24) scheme to enable small business owners to apply for up to 10 grants of £1,500. Developed by the government’s National Apprenticeship Service, the scheme offers employers with fewer than 1,000 staff the opportunity to receive funding for every apprentice aged between 16 and 24 that they employ. Open to small business owners who have failed to employ an apprentice in the past 12 months, the scheme previously enabled companies to apply for funding for up to three apprentices, but the government has today increased this to 10. Launched in February 2012, the scheme originally intended to run until March 2013, but this has been extended by a further 12 months following a positive response from employers. In addition to the funding, the scheme provides participating employers with support and advice about taking on an apprentice, while also reimbursing business owners with the full training cost of apprentices aged 16-18 and half of the cost to train those aged 19-24. Business secretary Vince Cable hopes that the expansion will encourage more small and medium-sized business owners to sign up to the scheme. He said: “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. “The £1,500 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.”

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