To ask Her Majesty's Government what incentives and support they plan to provide to encourage employers to continue to recruit apprentices in the coming months.
This is a difficult time for apprentices, employers and providers of apprenticeship training, assessment and external assurance. We are committed to supporting apprentices and employers so that we can continue to build the skills capabilities that the country needs. While we recognise that many employers will not feel that they are in a position to recruit apprentices during a period of considerable uncertainty, a comprehensive package of support remains available to those that do.
Employers can still use the apprenticeship service to find a suitable provider, advertise vacancies and manage the recruitment of apprentices. In January 2020, we began rolling out all aspects of the service to smaller employers that do not pay the levy, giving them more control over accessing funding for their apprenticeship choices. This roll-out is continuing, with smaller employers able to reserve funding for new apprenticeship starts through the apprenticeship service.
We provide financial incentives to businesses interested in recruiting apprentices, including paying 95% of training costs for employers that do not pay the levy. The government meets the full cost of training for the smallest employers (those with under 50 employees) for 16 to 18 year old apprentices and some 19 to 24 year old apprentices. We also provide additional payments of £1,000 to both the employer and provider for hiring and training 16 to 18 year olds and for 19 to 24 year olds who have an Education, Health and Care Plan.
Guidance on the measures that we are taking to help employers retain their apprentices and plan with more certainty can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response.
This will continue to be updated as the situation develops. We are also planning a number of campaigns to stimulate employer interest in the recruitment of apprentices during the period of economic recovery from COVID-19.