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Apprentices are a method of training individuals, usually within a skilled profession, whilst they undertake work at the same time. Although they are often perceived as a way into employment for younger people, apprentices are open to all who are aged over 16.

The government is encouraging organisations to use apprentices as a method of creating a skilled workforce, with a governmental target of 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020.

In England, funding of apprenticeships has been amended in recent years, with the apprenticeship levy introduced for large employers and co-investment introduced for smaller employers.

The Institute for Apprenticeship was launched in 2017 as a non-department public body who aim to create and develop quality apprenticeships.

New apprenticeship incentives announced for coronavirus recovery

On Wednesday 8 July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed several new economic measures to be put in place in order to encourage the recruitment of new apprentices across the UK. These are as follows:

Businesses will be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the Government already provides for new 16-18-year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

There will also be a new bonus of £1,500 for every apprentice taken on over the age of 25. 

Spring Statement 2019 confirms apprentice changes

Chancellor Philip Hammond used the 2019 Spring Statement to confirm the incoming changes to apprenticeships will take place from April 2019. These changes include:

  • organisations who pay the apprenticeship levy will be able to transfer up to 25 per cent of their levy funds to organisations within their supply chain
  • organisations who don’t pay the levy and pay part of the costs of apprenticeships, known as co-investment, will have their contribution reduced from 10 per cent to 5 per cent; with the government paying the remaining 95 per cent of costs
  • £5 million will be allocated to the Institute for Apprenticeships and National Apprenticeship Service in 2019-20 to ensure all new apprentices are starting on employer-designed apprenticeship standards from September 2020.

More information on paying the levy, and co-investment funding, can be found in our in-depth section.