Friday, 17 July 2020

Announcement: Support Scheme for Apprentices

Announcement: Support Scheme for Apprentices

by Ben Hansford

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new bonus scheme for employers to be paid up to £2000 to support young employees aged 16-24, and specifically, apprentices. The following explores how to apply for this scheme, and the current status of apprenticeships on an international scale. 

On July 8th 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a positive turning point for employees aged 16-24 - or more specifically, our Firebrand Apprentices.

As an incentive for employers to take on new apprentices, the Treasury will pay businesses a total of £2000 for each employee; if they are over 25 years old, £1500.

Sunak also announced an extra £32 million for the National Careers Service to provide tailored jobs advice to a quarter of a million more young people, and £17 million of funding from the adult education budget to almost triple the number of “sector-based work academy placements” next year.

As mentioned in FEWeek News, the Treasury has now published a plan for jobs document. It explains how this newly born system will be in addition to the existing £1000 incentive the government have been providing apprentices aged 16-18, and those under 25 years old with an education, health and care plan - where applicable.

Although this is a temporary support system, for the next 6 months it will prove a significant aid for businesses to employ apprentices, keep them training, and successfully qualify; further supporting their organisation’s growth and the future of the UK economy.

It is now important to register how this information affects you - either as an apprentice or an employer. Check out the following article for further details.

How do you apply for the scheme?

The following information outlines details of the new support schemes, which ones apply to you and how the scheme will support you:

Job Retention Bonus

To incentivise employers to keep on furloughed employees after the furlough scheme finishes at the end of October 2020, the government has announced that employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed on 31 January 2021.

The Kickstart Scheme

The government will fund the creation of six-month work placements for young people aged 16 – 24 who are on Universal Credit and are at most risk of long-term unemployment. The funding will cover the full cost of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours per week, as well as the cost of employer National Insurance Contributions and auto-enrolment pension contributions.


The government will also provide funding for employers to offer work experience to trainees aged 16 – 24 year olds, at a rate of £1,000 per trainee.


Between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021, the government will provide payments to employers in England who hire new apprentices. The payment will be £2,000 for employers who hire apprentices aged under 25, and £1,500 for each apprentice who is aged 25 and over.

You can check out further information on the Plan for Jobs on the Govt. website as well.

ESFA have also published new rules regarding funding for Apprenticeships. Check out the following links for further information:

What does the future of apprenticeships look like?

The climate we find ourselves in has meant we have had to adapt and be flexible to keep motivation and success flowing. Of course this goes without saying, but with regards to apprenticeships, this has always been the case.

As pointed out in The Telegraph, the “great advantage of work-based Apprenticeships is that they are driven by employment opportunities”. The programme responds quickly to the demands of the labour market - if the economy needs more data analysts, software developers, or general IT support, the apprenticeship programme will follow suit.

The pandemic has shined a harsh light on what was already a widening skills gap around the world – a gap that will need to be closed with even greater urgency to accelerate economic recovery. It is clear that this deficiency caused by the pandemic has been acknowledged by the UK government, explaining the necessity for their support.

Being properly certified for the job has never been more paramount than it is now. Microsoft have released their own skills pledge in upscaling the digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of the year.

Microsoft’s scheme will support three main areas of activity:
  • The use of data to identify in-demand jobs and the skills needed to fill them
  • Free access to learning paths and content to help people develop the skills these positions require
  • Low-cost certifications and free job-seeking tools to help people who develop these skills pursue new jobs

With the support of tech corporations like Microsoft, in-hand with UK government benefactions, the future of apprenticeships looks promising and sustainable.

Firebrand Apprenticeships

Winning the Digital Apprenticeship Provider of the Year at the inaugural 2018 FE Week and AELP Apprenticeship Awards, and named in the Top 20 IT Training Companies in the World for five years running, Firebrand has a national reputation for delivering and supporting tech apprentices.

Furthermore, with data outlined of the top 10 jobs in the world, each of these career pathways Firebrand offers apprenticeships for:
  • Digital marketing specialist
  • IT support
  • Data analyst
  • IT administrator
  • Software developer
It is fair to still question - that now with this information and possibility - whether now is still the best time to sign up and become an apprentice. We say it is.

If you have any further questions, as an apprentice, please check out our Firebrand Apprenticeships website.

If you’re an employer, interested in making the most of the cash incentives, while supporting your business with universally in-demand skills, please contact

Ben Hansford is Managing Director of Firebrand's Apprenticeships division. Ben spent seven years managing large employer apprenticeship requirements at the Education and Skills Funding Agency, before leading the development of PeoplePlus UK’s skills offer. As a consultant, he has worked with a range of national employers and training providers to deliver successful business change.