The UK government has extended its Apprenticeship Grant for Employers of 16-24 year olds (AGE 16-24) to be available until March 2014.
Offered by the National Apprenticeship Service, the £1,500 AGE 16-24 grant was initially available during the 2012/13 financial year but has been extended in a bid to further increase the adoption of apprentices within UKsmall and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The grant has also been increased to allow businesses with less than 1,000 employees to claim for up to 10 apprentices.
On the extension, business secretary, Vince Cable said: “I know 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. So 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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David Way, chief executive of the National Apprenticeship Service, said there has never been a better time to recruit an apprentice: “We know that many businesses believe apprenticeships deliver the skills needed for growth so we are delighted AGE 16-24 has been positively received by employers for helping them to do just that.”
Dr Tehir Nadeem, owner of the Solihull Dental Practice, a small business to have previously applied for the AGE 16-24 grant, said: “AGE 16-24 has made the worthwhile decision to hire an apprentice even more cost effective.
“The grant helped meet the costs of taking on a new member of staff; in effect the grant is being re-invested into the business, to help it grow.”
David Barlow, training and development director at Barlows UK, said: “Apprenticeships provide a great opportunity to bring enthusiastic young people in to a business and train them with the skills that exactly meet the organisation’s needs.
“Apprentices are a true asset to our workforce and I passionately believe more employers should hire them.”
The National Apprenticeship Service has also announced a new standard level, which means the firm will offer support will initial call handling, analysing business needs, and an after-service follow up.