Funding & Costs for Employers

Apprenticeships provide a valuable opportunity for employers to develop and train their workforce, but the cost of such programs can be a barrier for some. Fortunately, a range of funding and grants is available to help cover the cost of apprenticeships. This page will outline the different types of funding and grants available to help employers invest in apprenticeships and build a skilled and motivated workforce.

Apprenticeship Levy

If the Apprenticeship Levy applies to your business, you can use the funds for training. The levy is designed to put apprenticeship funding in the hands of employers and encourage them to invest in and create apprenticeships. The levy applies to all employers across all sectors in the UK. The rate is set at 0.5 per cent of an employer’s pay bill, collected monthly via Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

Non-Levy Government Funding

The Government will provide 95% (or 100% in some cases) of the balance to cover the cost of your training if you are a non-levy paying employer, but some employers may be required to contribute the remaining 5% towards the costs of training.

Your business may be eligible for 100% funding if your annual wage bill is less than £3 million and you have less than 50 employees. In this case, you will receive 100% funding for any Apprentices aged 16-18 and 95% for any aged 19+. You will be required to contribute 5% of the funding costs for any apprentices over the age of 19.

Apprenticeship Levy Transfers

Employers who pay the apprenticeship levy and have unused apprenticeship funds can find employers who want to receive a transfer in a number of ways. For example, you could:

  • work with employers you currently work with
  • get in touch with other employers in your industry
  • get in touch with an Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA)
  • work with regional partners

Our guide to Apprenticeship Levy Transfers
GOV UK Information

Government Grants

Teen Grant: The Teen Grant is a £1000 incentive for every new apprenticeship that starts from 1st May 2017 for learners aged between 16-18. Payable at the end of months three and twelve of each learner’s qualification. This incentive also applies to any learner aged 19-24 from a care background.

Entrepreneur Offer: For small businesses employing less than 50 employees, 16-18 apprentices remain contribution free. This incentive also applies to any learner aged 19-24 from a care background.

Government Incentives

Traineeship Incentive: From September 2020, For the first time, the government will fund employers who provide trainees with work experience at a rate of £1,000 per trainee.

Employers in England will be given £1,000 for each work experience placement they offer to people aged 16-18 or 19+ with an Education and Healthcare Plan as part of plans to reduce unemployment among young people. This applies to all new traineeships starting from 01/09/2020 to 31st July 2022. The maximum of 10 per region, per company. Terms and conditions apply.

Learner Loan Funding

Advanced learner loan (ALL) through the Student Loans Company (SLC): You can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to help with the costs of a course with us here at SmartTAR, Loan eligibility does not depend on your income, and there are no credit checks. However, we only deliver specific courses through ALL: Level 3 and above. Check if you’re eligible before you apply for an Advanced Learner Loan.

When you repay your loan

You’ll have to start repaying your loan when your income is over a certain amount (the ‘threshold’ amount). You’ll be charged interest from the day you get the first payment. You may be entitled to total funding for your course if you have not already achieved a whole level 3 qualification. This may mean that you do not require an ALL; if you think this may be the case, please discuss your situation before applying for an ALL. Please email us at customerservice@smarttar.co.uk or telephone the National Careers Service at 0800 100 900 if you wish to discuss this further. The National Careers Service advisers can help identify where you might access this funding and for which courses. To consider your financial options further, you may refer to the Money Advice Service, which can provide free and impartial money advice.

EU learners – new arrangements

There have been significant changes to the rules and regulations around the rights of EU citizens and their family members to live, work or study in the UK. In order to meet the new eligibility requirements, learners from the EU applying for courses starting in the academic year 2021/22 must-have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). The deadline for applications to EUSS is 30 June 2021. If you haven’t done so, we recommend checking that your existing learners from the EU have also applied to EUSS. See our factsheet below for more information:

EU exit and Advanced Learner Loans factsheet
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