Key updates from the updated ESFA Apprenticeship Funding Policy

15 July, 2020

New apprentice incentive payments

An incentive payment will be made to employers who hire an apprentice between 1st August 2020 and 31st January 2021. *Extended until 31st March 2021* more info here.

The apprentice must be a new employee to the business, have a contract of employment start date between 1st August 2020 and 31st January 2021 (inclusive) and must not have been employed by the employer within the six months prior to the contract start date.

Claims can start to be made by employers in relation to these apprentices from 1st September 2020. Those claims must be made through the apprenticeship service.

There will be two levels of payment based on age. For apprentices aged 16-24 the payment will be £2,000, and for apprentices aged 25 or over the payment will be £1,500. The payment will be made directly to employers in two equal instalments, where the apprentice is still in learning at day 90 and day 365.

There will be no limit on the number of incentive payments that an employer can claim for apprentices eligible to receive funding, provided each apprentice meets the criteria, including being a new employee.

Additional funding for 16-18 year olds/19-24 year olds with EHC Plans

When employers take on a 16-18 year olds on an apprenticeship standard, they receive £1,000 to help meet the extra costs associated with this. This will be paid to employers in two equal instalments at 90 days and 365 days. These payments are made to employers via their training provider, who will pass the money on. These payments will come directly from the government and will not be deducted from an employer’s account.

Employers who train an apprentice who is aged 19-24 and has previously been in care or who has a Local Authority Education, Health and Care plan, will receive £1,000 to help with these additional costs in the same way as the payment for 16-18 year olds.

These payments are separate from, and therefore in addition to, the incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice, which are paid directly to the employer through the apprenticeship service.

Apprenticeship frameworks/standards

From 1st August 2020, all new apprenticeship starts must be on standards. Apprenticeship frameworks will no longer be available to new starts, but learners will still be able to complete their framework, providing they started it on or before 31st July 2020.

Extension of the time-frame for non-levy employers to move to the apprenticeship service

The transition period to move all employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy onto the apprenticeship service, has been extended from October 2020. Funds available to providers through non-levy procured contract allocations can be used for new starts until 31st March 2021. ESFA plans to fund all starts through the apprenticeship service from 1st April 2021.

Exiting the European Union

Eligibility for apprenticeship funding may change for some individuals because of the United Kingdom exiting the European Union. Detailed eligibility rules are set out in the apprenticeship funding rules. Further guidance will be given once the details of the exit are confirmed.

The full policy document can be found here.