Monday, May 11, 2015

News: GAP grants for apprenticeships

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Added financial incentives are available for targeted businesses in Rotherham taking on new apprentices.

In December, the Sheffield City Region (SCR) asked to take control of its share of the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE), the £1,500 available to employers taking on apprentices, so that it can decide to vary the level of financial support available to different types of learner, sizes of business and subject.

After discussions with the Government, the region was offered £2.41m for 2015-16 which means that grants of up to £2,450 are available to any South Yorkshire employer with fewer than 100 staff that meets certain criteria.

As part of the city region's devolution deal, Sheffield City Council, working on the behalf of the City Region Combined Authority, has been asked to administer the funding across South Yorkshire and priority is expected to be given to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related apprenticeships, underdeveloped areas where there is potential apprenticeship growth and disadvantaged learners undertaking an apprenticeship.

The preferred mechanism to administer these funds being through the established Skills Made Easy programme. Aimed at SME's, the skills based programme provides practical and impartial advice when it comes to recruiting apprentices as well as helping to overcome skills shortages by offering access to a wide range of training programmes, usually delivered at no cost to the employer.

Known as GAP, the grants are available to employers offering any apprenticeship where the apprentice's workplace is in South Yorkshire, the employer has no more than 100 employees, the employer has not employed more than two apprentices in the last 12 months and the newly employed apprentice is aged from 16 to 24 years old.

Up to four GAP grants are available over a 12 month period to any employer meeting the eligibility criteria. The scheme also includes additional incentive payments of £450 where an apprentice recruited to a lower level, progresses to a higher level apprenticeship i.e. Level 4, or Level 5.

Skills Made Easy is working closely with the Skills Funding Agency to make sure that the process for claiming grants is consistent with the national AGE process whilst also responding to local priorities and needs.

GAP grants are payable directly to employers, but the application process needs to be initiated by a training provider that offers apprenticeships to employers in South Yorkshire.

Also part of the devolution deal, the city region is working with the Skills Funding Agency on the spend of the Adult Skills Budget (ASB) across the region. The pot is the main funding received by colleges and training providers for delivery of apprenticeships and up-skilling.

Skills Made Easy website
Growth Through Training website

Images: AMRC

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