Department for the Economy has been offering an Apprenticeship Recovery Package for Northern Ireland that channels financial support to local businesses to help the apprenticeship system respond to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Feedback has been positive giving many employers the help they needed to protect the employment of their existing apprentices and to create new apprenticeship opportunities however ongoing restrictions have meant that many have been unable to take advantage of this support to renew and regrow their businesses.
These incentives previously supported the return and retention of furloughed apprentices and the recruitment of new apprentices up to 31st March 2021, however the schemes have been extended with support available until 31st March 2022.
The New Apprenticeship Incentive Scheme
This scheme is open to employers who take on an apprentice participating in the Department for the Economy funded ApprenticeshipsNI or Higher Level Apprenticeship programmes with up to £3,000 available to employers for each new apprenticeship opportunity created between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2022.
This incentive is available for all new apprenticeship opportunities created including those made available for apprentices who have been made redundant by another employer.
- Payment 1 – £2,000 after 90 days retention following start of new paid apprenticeship
- Payment 2 – £1,000 after 200 days retention following start of new paid apprenticeship
Apprenticeship Return, Retain and Result Scheme
This scheme is open to employers participating on the DfE-funded ApprenticeshipsNI or Higher Level Apprenticeship programmes, who return apprentices who were furloughed as part of the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
DfE will provide incentive payments to help you return your apprentice(s) from furlough, retain them in work and for successful completion of their apprenticeship, with up to £3,700 available per apprentice.
- Return – £500 per returned furloughed apprentice payable for the first full month of paid apprenticeship between 1 November 2020 and 31st March 2022.
- Retain – maximum of £2,000 available: £500 per month for up to 4 consecutive months of paid apprenticeship following the “return” month between 1 December 2020 and 31 March 2022.
- Result – £1,200 for successful completion of all apprenticeship components by a returned furloughed apprentice.