14,000 reasons why now is the right time to take on an apprentice

Is now the right time to take on an apprentice? With all the funding available, we think it is…

With all the uncertainty at the moment, you may not think this is the best time to expand your team and take on an apprentice. However, with up to £3,000 in government cash incentives available, and further funding from CITB, we think it’s worth thinking about.

Take an apprentice on before 31st January and you will get up to £2,000 as a cash incentive as part of the government’s Plan for Jobs. Add on the current £1,000 for taking on an 16-18-year-old apprentice – that is available to all employers, regardless of size - and the total amount could be £3,000.

This cash incentive is different to apprenticeship levy funds so you can spend it on anything to support your organisation’s costs. For example, making vans COVID secure or your apprentice’s travel. Plus, you do not have to pay it back.

For each new apprentice you hire before 31st January, you will get £2,000 if they are under 25 or £1,500 for the over-25s. The payment comes in two equal instalments, the first 50 per cent after 90 days and the remainder at the end of the first year.

With many firms feeling the effect of COVID, some apprentices sadly lost their placements. In June, the Construction Leadership Council reported that 43 per cent of the 11,000 construction apprentices had been furloughed. And 10 per cent of firms said they envisage having to let their apprentices go as the year progresses.

Those affected will have gained some skills and work experience, which means they can quickly start adding value to a new employer. The government has confirmed that extra incentives apply if you take on apprentice who has been made redundant. We think this is win-win situation for the employer and the apprentice alike.

You can find out more about funding apprenticeships here.

Employers of apprentices aged under 25 do not pay National Insurance employer contributions for their apprentices.

Extra funding

Don’t forget the CITB funding available for those in construction. If you are a levy payer, or you are exempt from paying the levy by virtue of the Small Business Levy exemption, then grants of £2,500 are available per year of the apprenticeship. At the end of the apprenticeship you can also apply for an Achievement Grant of £3,500.

An example:

Course Title - Civil Engineering Technician Level 3
Course Duration - 3 years
Age of Apprentice - 17 
Start Date – 1st November 2020

Government existing 16-18 year old incentive  

£1,000

Government new apprentice incentive

£2,000

CITB Year 1 Grant

£2,500

CITB Year 2 Grant

£2,500

CITB Year 3 Grant

£2,500

CITB Achievement Grant

£3,500

Total

£14,000

Did you know your costs could be reduced even further?

If you don’t pay into the apprenticeship levy (or have spent it already) then you will need to contribute 5 per cent of the apprenticeship training costs. For a Level 2 Bricklaying course this contribution would be £450, for a Level 3 Plumbing and Heating apprentice this increases to £1,050.

But many larger firms are now looking to make sure some of their levy pot is kept in their industry. Employers can transfer up to 25 per cent of their levy pot to another employer and if are in receipt of one of these transfers your contribution towards the training costs becomes zero.

How to find a levy transfer company

Ask your local college, or search online for apprentice levy match services. Many councils are now facilitating these schemes to match local employers together. Hudson Contract is supporting the levy match service in Leeds.

There really has never been a better time to look at apprenticeships and help the future of our industry.

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