Apprenticeship Incentives

From 1 August 2020 until 31 March 2021, businesses will be given £2,000 for new apprentices aged 16-24 and £1,500 for every new apprentice 25 years and older. Employers of new 16-18 year older apprentices will also receive the pre-existing £1,000 grant, giving them a total incentive package of £3,000 for each apprentice.

These incentive payments are different to the levy i.e. they do not have to directly contribute to training costs. They can be used to support any organisational costs, such as facilities, and can even be used to pay the apprentice’s salary.

Some of our employers are already starting to take advantage of these incentives, but what are the eligibility requirements and how can you apply?


The incentive grants only apply to new apprentices to the business. If you are looking to use apprenticeship training to upskill existing staff, these incentives would not apply. The apprentice’s contract of employment must have a start date of no earlier than 1 August 2020. You can receive the incentives for an apprentice who has previously been made redundant, but they must be new to your business.

The grants (with the exception of the pre-existing £1,000 grant for 16-18 year olds) are set to expire in January i.e. the apprentice’s contract of employment must have a start date of no later than 31 January 2021. Recruiting a new apprentice, just like any other new employee, can take up to a couple of months. We need to agree the job role and appropriate apprenticeship standard, advertise the vacancy, screen applicants and provide you with suitable CVs. You need to shortlist, conduct interviews (see our article on apprenticeship recruitment and social distancing), appoint your chosen candidate and agree a start date (which could be subject to a notice period). If you are thinking of taking advantage of the incentives, we would recommend that you get in touch as early as possible so that we can get the ball rolling for you.

Access and Payments

You can apply for payments from 1 September 2020 but in order to do so, you need to create an apprenticeship service account and add the apprentice to it. This is the system that apprenticeship levy payers have been using over the last couple of years to manage their apprentices but will be new to nearly all SMEs. Here at Damar Training, we have experienced account managers who can guide you through the process of how to get your business set up on the system, add your apprentices and apply for the incentive payments.

You will receive the incentive payment in two equal instalments: 50% after the apprentice completes 90 days of their apprenticeship and the remaining 50% after 365 days. To get the full payment, the apprentice must still be in employment and training after one year. Payments are made on the 10th working day of the month.

Find Out More

Whether you're a levy payer or SME, we can help you recruit an apprentice and apply for the incentive payments. We currently have many high calibre candidates on our books who are actively looking for an apprenticeship and, in many cases, will be able to provide you with appropriate CVs straight away. Please get in touch with us to find out how we can help you, by calling us on 01614808171 or emailing us at 

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