People & Skills  

An extended AGE of apprenticeships

Small and medium-sized businesses have been given a workforce skills boost with the announcement that the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) has been extended until March 2014
 Apprenticeships provide opportunities for all involved

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Originally only offered during the 2012/13 financial year, the UK government’s Apprentices Grant for Employers (AGE) of 16-24 year olds is worth £1,500 and is available for those businesses with fewer than 1,000 employers who wish to take on an apprentice.

The extension is thought to have been brought about by the overwhelmingly positive response from employers the scheme has garnered, with businesses now able to claim a grant for up to 10 apprentices.

Business Secretary, Vince Cable commented:

“I know it can be a big decision for busy, small companies to take on an apprentice. Employers may be concerned about the time recruitment and training will take, and anxious about how it will work.

“So the £1,500 grant is a token to acknowledge this and thank employers. I hope many more people will take us up on our cash incentive to grow their business, and train up the workforce of the future.”

Chief Executive of the National Apprenticeship Service, David Way added:

“We know that many businesses believe Apprenticeships deliver the skills needed for growth, so we are delighted AGE 16-24 has been positively received by employers for helping them to do just that.

“Apprenticeships come with a guarantee of quality, giving young people a job with training, and are proven to deliver a significant return on investment, so this really is a win-win initiative for employers.

“There has never been a better time to recruit an apprentice, so I hope more organisations will look at how they can benefit from this grant over the coming 12 months and reap the rewards of a more motivated, skills and qualified workforce.”

The announcement coincides with the start of a new nationwide radio advertising campaign this week aimed at encouraging more employers to take on apprentices and to highlight the availability of AGE funding.

David Barlow, Training & Development Director at Barlows UK, one of the businesses which features in the campaign, summed up the scheme:

“Apprenticeships provide a great opportunity to bring enthusiastic young people in to a business and train them with the skills that exactly meet the organisation’s needs. Apprentices are a true asset to our workforce and I passionately believe more employers should hire them.”

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