Employers across England are being encouraged to take advantage of a new funding initiative to help them recruit their first young apprentices.
The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) is offering up to 40,000 Apprenticeship Grants to small and medium sized businesses (employing less than 250 employees), to the value of £1,500, that recruit their first apprentice aged 16 to 24 years-old.
Last year, despite difficult labour market conditions, more than 275,000 16-24-year-olds started an apprenticeship, including 32,580 in the West Midlands, but the Government is keen that many more young people are given the opportunity to benefit and take their first steps on the career ladder.
Karen Woodward, NAS divisional area director for the West Midlands said: “For a strong and growing economy we must have a high level of skills to meet employer demand and apprenticeships are a vital way of achieving this. The grant is designed to encourage employers who have identified funding as a barrier to recruiting an apprentice to now get involved, ultimately increasing the number and range of high quality apprenticeship opportunities available for young people.”
Small and medium-sized businesses across all sectors that have not employed an apprentice in the last three years may be eligible. The £1,500 grant, known as AGE 16 to 24, is in addition to the training costs of the chosen apprenticeship framework which are met in full for 16-18-year-olds and 50 per cent for those aged 19-24. Employers will be required to commit to employing an apprentice for a minimum of 12 months, or the time it takes for the apprentice to complete their programme.