The AGE (16-24) Grant is a scheme designed to encourage employers to take on young and unemployed individuals as apprentices. In return employers will receive £1,500 towards the cost of their wages. There are 40,000 Apprenticeship grants available (provided by the National Apprenticeship Service) to employers with up to 1000 employees taking on 16 to 24 year olds. The £1,500 is in addition to the funded training costs of the Apprenticeship scheme which is met in full by the Skills Funding Agency for young people aged 16 to 18 and majority funded for 19 to 24 year olds.
Following the popularity of the grants , County Training has just received confirmation that Ministers and HM Treasury have formally agreed to improve the grant offer with the following package of reforms for Employers:
1. Pay the employers the full amount of £1500 13 weeks after the apprentice starts, instead of two instalments of £750 at weeks 8 and 52.
2. Extend the scheme to mid-sized businesses with up to 1000 employees, with the proviso that at least 50% of the grants (20,000 of the 40,000 grants available) should still be targeted at SMEs (companies employing no more than 250 employees).
3. Increase the number of grants a single employer can claim to 10, up from the current limit of three.
4. Relax the rule informally known as the “3 year rule” so that an employer will be eligible for AGE if they have not employed an apprentice in the last 12 months.
This successful scheme will now extend to mid-size businesses as well as SMEs (small mid-size enterprises) and give employers added motivation to engage in the scheme.
This initiative enables both young, unemployed people and businesses to grow and flourish. Councillor Karen Burgoyne, Shropshire Council’s deputy cabinet member for post-16 education states: “As well as being beneficial to businesses, the apprenticeship programme gives people a great opportunity to get started on their career path.”
Neil Ryding , Managing Director of Fuel Additive Science Technologies (FAST) in Shrewsbury, has been very impressed with the new skills his staff have gained since completing their apprenticeships, commenting; “Since March 2010, we have taken on 4 apprentices and have put 4 existing members of staff through vocational training. County Training have delivered excellent training in line with our business needs which has provided our staff with valuable skills and knowledge to help them progress with the organisation in the future.
If you’re recruiting, or considering recruiting in the near future, could your role be filled by an enthusiastic16-24 year old, looking to start and develop their career? To find out more about apprenticeships and to take advantage of the new grant scheme find out more here or to contact County Training click here