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Apprenticeship Funding

As a small employer (with 49 or fewer employees) you’ll not have to contribute towards the cost of Apprenticeship training if the apprentice is aged:
• 16-18; or
• 19-24 and is a care leaver or has a Local Authority Education, Health & Care Plan.

This means that the Government will pay 100% of the training costs. In addition, apprentices in the above categories will also attract a bonus payment of £1,000 each, payable in two equal instalments.

If the apprentice is not part of one of these two categories and therefore not eligible for full funding, you’ll be able to access Government co-investment funding. Training may be undertaken for new and existing employees, including graduates, as long as the Apprenticeship develops new or different skills.

Please note: as apprentices are employees of your company, you are responsible for paying apprentices at least the minimum wage.

What is Government co-investment funding?

As a small employer, Apprenticeship training will be free for any of your employees who are aged:

  • • 16-18; or
  • • 19-24 and are care leavers or have a Local Authority Education, Health & Care Plan.

If you wish to train an employee aged 19+ who is not a care leaver/does not have a Local Authority Education, Health & Care Plan, you are able to access Government co-investment funding.  This means the Government will pay 90% of the Apprenticeship training costs and you will only pay the remaining 10%.

For example, an Apprenticeship costing £5,000 will mean:

  • • you will pay £500 plus VAT* (ie 10% of the Apprenticeship cost), which is equivalent to £9.62 + VAT per week, or £41.67 + VAT per month.
  • • the Government will pay £4,500 (ie 90% of the Apprenticeship cost).

*VAT may be recoverable if you are VAT registered.

How much will co-investment cost?

Each Apprenticeship programme will fall into one of 15 ‘funding bands’ ranging from £1,500 to £27,000. Therefore the 10% cost you will have to pay will depend on which funding band the type of Apprenticeship you wish the apprentice to do falls into.

The below example is for Funding Band 4

Total cost of Apprenticeship £3,000
Employer co-investment (10%)
(payable monthly by instalments)
£300 + VAT*
Maximum Government Co-investment (90%) £2,700


*VAT may be recoverable if you are a VAT registered company.

Is there a limit to the amount of Apprenticeship training we can do?

No. You can recruit as many apprentices and put as many existing and new staff on Apprenticeship programmes as you want. You will also receive an incentive payment of £1,000* for every apprentice aged:

• 16-18; or

• 19-24 who is a care leaver or has a Local Authority Education, Health & Care Plan.

*Incentive payments are made in two equal instalments of £500; the first after the apprentice has been on programme for three months and the second after the apprentice has been on programme for 12 months.  It may take up to nine weeks after the payment dates for the funds to be processed and transferred.

Is co-investment funding just for recruiting a new apprentice?

Not at all. You can recruit new apprentices and put existing or new staff members, including graduates, on an Apprenticeship programme and access co-investment funding.

Apprenticeship training for existing employees must develop new or different skills.

What are Apprenticeship levy funds transfers?

From April 2018 employers who pay the apprenticeship levy will be able to transfer apprenticeship funds to other organisations to pay for their apprenticeship training and assessment. They will be able to transfer up to a maximum of 10% of their annual funds, which will be calculated from the total amount of levy declared during the previous tax year.

Transfers are being brought in as a flexibility in the system in response to employer demand and should lead to the creation of more apprenticeship starts, allowing larger employers to spend some of their funding to help upskill the workforce of another employer, perhaps in their supply chain.

Levy-paying employers will be able to transfer funds to any employer and will have to agree the apprenticeships that are being funded by a transfer with the employer receiving the funds. Employers receiving transferred funds will only be able to use them to pay for training and assessment for apprenticeship standards and the transfer must cover the cost in full.

For more information go to the transferring apprenticeship service funds page on GOV.UK, read this blog on 5 tips for employers to get ready for transfers and take a look at this short video.