An Employer’s Guide to Apprenticeship Incentive Payments

If you’re a UK employer who wants to bring fresh talent into your team through an apprenticeship programme, ‘incentive payments’ might be attractive.

Navigating the financial landscape of hiring an apprentice can be daunting, but with the right knowledge, you can onboard enthusiastic recruits to boost your bottom line.

The UK’s apprenticeship levy and incentive schemes ensure that enhancing your workforce is not only strategically solid but economically sound.


A white line break


Pile of 20 pound notes

Understanding the cost of hiring an apprentice

Before you consider taking advantage of the apprenticeship levy and the incentives, it’s important to understand the initial costs.


Apprenticeship costs

When you hire an apprentice, you commit to paying their salary, which is the sum of their working hours. Alongside this, you’ll need to consider the expenses for their training, although some support is available, particularly if they’re working for a smaller or medium-sized business.


Apprenticeship end-point assessment costs

End-point assessments (EPAs) are integral to the UK apprenticeship system. They represent the final hurdle that an apprentice must overcome to complete their training and step into their chosen profession confidently. The cost can vary but is yet another factor to be budgeted for.

EPA costs vary depending on the individual standard of each apprenticeship. However, it generally falls between 10% and 20% of the total training costs. If your training costs are £15,000, for example, you could expect to pay anywhere between £1,500 and £3,000 for your EPA.


A white line break


The Apprenticeship Levy and incentive grant

The apprenticeship incentive grant for businesses in the UK is a form of financial support the government provides to help employers who hire and train new apprentices. It is designed to offset the costs associated with training and encourage more businesses to offer apprenticeships.

As per the apprentice incentive grant, employers can receive a £1,000 payment for new 16-18-year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

The apprenticeship employer does not need to take action to activate the payments, as it’s the training provider’s responsibility.

You can expect the first payment of £500 from your training provider 90 days after the commencement of the apprenticeship training. The final payment of £500 will reach you 365 days after the start date. Remember, training providers have a window of 30 working days to transfer these funds to you.

If you’re a small business with fewer than 50 employees and you take on an apprentice aged 16-18, 100% of your training costs will be covered by the ESFA Apprenticeship Reservation Funds. 

For non-levy employers with over 50 employees, or those with less than 50 employees but with apprentices aged 19 or above, 95% of the training costs will be taken care of by the ESFA Apprenticeship Reservation Funds.

And lastly, if you’re a Levy paying employer, your apprenticeship training costs will be covered by your apprenticeship levy. 

These grants are part of a broader initiative to support businesses in developing a skilled workforce, driving economic growth, and fostering innovation.


A white line break


Nurturing talent with Access Industry

For employers seeking a pipeline of creative and digital talent, here at Access Industry (the apprenticeship arm of Access Creative College) we are your one-stop shop. With a focus on music, computing, esports and media, we offer contemporary apprenticeship programmes that align aspirations with skills. 

Collaborating with Access Industry ensures that you gain the most out of your apprenticeship experience.


A white line break


CV on desk

Hiring an apprentice is a cost-effective investment

Hiring an apprentice is not just about recruitment. It’s a strategic and cost-effective investment that pays dividends in the long term. As an employer, embracing apprenticeships can give your company a competitive edge, infuse new energy into your workplace culture, and positively impact your community.

By understanding and utilising the available incentive payments, you can take confident strides towards a more sustainable and substantial business model. Let the apprenticeship journey begin and prosper, not just for the ones you teach, but for the lessons they bring to your table.

Remember, as you explore the incentives on offer, always keep Access Industry in mind. We’re not just training your next apprentice, we’re sculpting the future leaders of the creative industry. 

Ready to make that leap? Access Industry awaits and so do the financial incentives for apprentice employers.

Last updated on: 23rd February 2024