The Department for the Economy (DfE) launched an Apprenticeship Recovery Package for Northern Ireland on September 11th with the aim of providing financial support to local businesses to help the apprenticeship system respond to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
The Recovery Package included three schemes – the Apprenticeship Challenge Fund, the Apprentice Recruitment Incentive and the Apprenticeship Return, Retain and Result Scheme. Applications for the Apprenticeship Challenge Fund closed on 23rd October. 13 projects were successful in their application for funding and work on these projects is now under way. Details on the remaining schemes which are still open are below. Further information can be found on the NI Business Info website.
Recruitment of New Apprenticeships
This incentive is available to all employers to support the recruitment of new apprentices. Employers will be eligible for up to £3,000 for each new apprenticeship opportunity created from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. This bonus will apply to all new apprenticeship opportunities and includes apprentices who have been made redundant:
- Payment 1 – £2,000 after 90 days retention following start* of new apprenticeship
- Payment 2 – £1,000 after 200 days retention following start* of a new paid apprenticeship
Further details on the scheme, full eligibility terms and how to apply can be found here: Coronavirus: New Apprenticeship Incentive Scheme (nibusinessinfo.co.uk)
Apprenticeship Return, Retain and Result Scheme
To help return apprentices from furlough, and retain them until 31st March 2021 and on to successful completion of their apprenticeship, DfE will provide incentive payments to employers to support the return, retention and result for apprentices. The total amount payable under the scheme will be a maximum of £3,700 per apprentice, distribution as follows:
- Return – £500 per returned furloughed apprentice payable for the first full month of paid apprenticeship from 1 November 2020
- Retain – maximum of £2,000 available: £500 per month for up to 4 months of paid apprenticeship between 1 December 2020 and 31 March 2021
- Result – £1,200 for successful full framework achievement of a returned furloughed apprentice
Further details on the scheme can be found here: Coronavirus: Apprenticeship Return, Retain and Result Scheme (nibusinessinfo.co.uk)
The Apprenticeship Recovery incentives will be promoted again as part of a three week media campaign from 8 to 28 February 2021. This follows on from the media campaigns in September and November and again utilises TV, radio, outdoor billboards and a variety of social media platforms.