The £1,500 grant has also had its criteria widened; it is now available to all UK businesses with up to 1,000 employees, and the money can now be used to take on up to 10 apprentices.
Upon hearing the news, the chief executive of the British Hospitality Association Ufi Ibrahim told BigHospitality: “This is excellent news and will help get the message out to a much wider audience that we are an exciting industry, full of opportunities and great career prospects.
“The BHA is leading The Big Conversationfor hospitality to encourage industry leaders to create more apprenticeships and training places.
“This is the tourism and hospitality initiative of 2013 and its great to see things off to a flying start.”
Investment in people
Ruth Asker-Browne, who is responsible for delivering apprenticeships at People 1st, added: “The extension of the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers is great news for the hospitality industry.
“Apprenticeships are key to attracting talent to our industry, and the grant will help ensure employers continue to invest in training and bringing new people into the industry. Of course, it will also encourage more businesses to take on a wider range of apprentices.”
Initially only on offer during the 2012/13 financial year, the availability of the Apprenticeship Grant has been extended following a positive response from employers.
Further amendments include the £1,500 being paid to a business in a single instalment rather than being split over two payments; and the period of time between an employer last taking on an apprentice, and being eligible to apply for the grant, being reduced to a year.
Business Secretary, Vince Cable said: “I know it can be a big decision for busy, small companies to take on an apprentice. Employers may be concerned about the time recruitment and training will take, and anxious about how it will work.
“So the £1,500 grant is a token to acknowledge this and thank employers. I hope many more people will take us up on our cash incentive to grow their business, and train up the workforce of the future.”
David Way, chief executive of the National Apprenticeship Service, added: “Apprenticeships come with a guarantee of quality, giving young people a job with training, and are proven to deliver a significant return on investment, so this really is a win-win initiative for employers.
“There has never been a better time to recruit an apprentice, so I hope more organisations will look at how they can benefit from this grant over the coming 12 months and reap the rewards of a more motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.”
The £1,500 Apprenticeship Grant is in addition to the training costs of the chosen Apprenticeship framework, which are met in full for 16-18 year olds and 50 per cent for those aged 19-24. Employers will be required to commit to employing an apprentice for a minimum of 12 months, or the time it takes for the apprentice to complete their programme.
Employers who have recruited an apprentice in the past 12 months are not eligible for the grant because its aim is to support employers to offer new and additional Apprenticeships to young people.
The Government’s announcement times with the start of a new nationwide radio advertising campaign to encourage more employers to take on an apprentice and to highlight the availability of the AGE grant.
The National Apprenticeship Service adverts, which will run across national and regional commercial stations throughout January and February, reinforce the quality of Apprenticeships and how they are helping businesses to grow. To listen to that radio advert, click here.