Coronavirus (Covid-19) Hub

Covid-19 : Business Support 30.09.20 – Update 48

Coronavirus: Apprenticeship Recovery Package

The Department for the Economy (“DfE”) has developed an Apprenticeship Recovery Package for Northern Ireland that will channel financial support to local businesses to help the apprenticeship system respond to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Package includes short term interventions which are targeted to reduce significant longer-term economic impacts. These interventions will reduce unemployment and ensure that employers continue to have access to people with the skills and qualifications needed to maintain productivity, to grow their businesses and to assist in closing the skills gap, ensuring that more people have a pathway to better paying jobs.

The three elements to the package are:

  1. Apprenticeship Challenge Fund;
  2. Apprenticeship Return, Retain and Result Scheme; and
  3. Recruitment of New Apprenticeships

Apprenticeship Challenge Fund
Open now for applications until 4pm on Friday 23rd October 2020, the Apprenticeship Challenge Fund awards successful applications with a one off grant of £50,000, or the option to increase up to £100,000 for proposals with multiple partners or features. The fund aims to promote greater collaboration between employers and suppliers, whilst maintaining the employer’s role at the centre of the apprenticeship system to take a more creative and innovative approach to solving problems. The Fund must only be used for new activity which should complement the support/activity already in place rather than replace it. Eligible activity must conclude by 31st March 2021
Further information relating to the scheme including the application form can be found here.

Apprenticeship Return, Retain and Result Scheme
DfE will provide incentive payments to employers to support the return, retention and result for apprentices from furlough. This scheme is open to employers participating in the DfE’s funded ApprenticeshipsNI or Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) programmes, who return their furloughed apprentices to work since April 2020, with payments as follows:

  • a £500 return payment;
  • followed by a £2,000 payment for an employer who retains their apprentice for 4 months following their return from furlough; and
  • a final result payment of £1,200 when the apprentice completes their qualification.

The total amount payable under the scheme will be a maximum of £3,700 per apprentice.
The scheme will begin on 1st November 2020 when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends. Further information can be found here.

Recruitment of New Apprenticeships
This incentive is available to all employers to support the recruitment of new apprentices and includes apprentices who have been made redundant from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. This scheme is also open to employers who take on an apprentice participating in the DfE funded ApprenticeshipsNI or Higher Level Apprenticeship programmes.
Employer will be eligible for up to £3,000 for each new opportunity paid as follows:

  • payment 1 – £2,000 after 90 days retention; and
  • payment 2 – £1,000 after 200 days retention from first employment

It is anticipated this scheme will open on 1st November 2020. Further details about the scheme, full eligibility terms and how to apply can be found here.

ASM Contacts

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Grainne Quinn – Magherafelt

Ian Finnegan – Newry

Caroline Keenan – Belfast

Michael P. O’Hare – Dundalk

Alistair Cooke – Dungannon