Businesses warned not to miss January 31 deadline for apprenticeship funds

After a dramatic year like no other, employers must make sure they do not miss out on a Government cash incentive to take on an apprentice, writes WELL Training Director of Apprenticeships Jackie Wyke.

And companies using the Government furlough scheme to protect roles during the COVID-19 pandemic should consider making the most of the opportunity to upskill their employees to bounce back in better times.

The second lockdown has dented business confidence and added uncertainty to the economic outlook but time is running out before the Government offer of £2,000 in funding through the Plan For Jobs scheme ends on January 31.

With it taking around six weeks to process an apprenticeship, employers who pay the annual apprenticeship levy must move quickly to make sure they access the incentive. For any new hire apprentice with a start date between 1st August and 31st January 2021, you can claim up to £2,000 from the Government.

After so many eventful months, employers may have lost track of the Government announcement in July which introduced this programme.

Cash incentive

The cash incentive was part of a package of measures to support jobs across the UK, introduced with the aim of giving businesses the confidence to retain and hire and provide people with the skills they need to get better jobs.

Setting the January 31 deadline, a Government announcement stated: “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.”

At WELL Training, we can support you with accessing the scheme, delivering the apprenticeship training plus handling both the levy and the added incentive process.

Inevitably, survival and cashflow have been higher on the list of priorities for many businesses. Hundreds of thousands of organisations have drawn upon Government support including grants and loans to offset the drop of revenue due to COVID.

Some employees will currently be furloughed as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Under employment law, many activities are not allowed while an employee is furloughed. Training is recognised as an acceptable activity, so why not start your apprenticeship program now?

There is no better way to ensure that your team stays engaged and, as furlough ends, you return with a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

Managerial training

Apprenticeships do not have to be for just entry level employees. We offer the range of apprenticeships from level 2 at customer service practitioner, level 3 level for team leader and supervisors and level 4 assessor coach training. At level 5 we cover operations and departmental managers and learning and skills teachers.

Upskilling the staff you have on board ready for the challenges that await in 2021 and beyond could make a considerable difference to performance and motivation.

Like everyone else, business leaders will be looking forward to the Christmas celebrations at the end of such a challenging 12 months.

Looking ahead to the first quarter of 2021 to capitalise on the apprenticeship opportunity and wider training could prove beneficial as companies continue to operate in a tough environment.

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