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What apprenticeship funding is available for SMEs? 

Many small businesses may be put off apprenticeships because of the costs associated with training an employee. However, SMEs with a wage bill below £3 million are eligible for 95-100 per cent apprenticeship funding from the government.  

Our latest blog details what funding is available for those who do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy. If you are a Levy-Paying employer, please see our main apprenticeship funding page.

How can SMEs get apprenticeship funding? 

SMEs can get 95 per cent of their apprenticeship training fees funded by the government if: 

  • They have an annual wage bill below £3 million 
  • They have over 50 employees and hire an apprentice aged 16+ 

OR 

  • They have fewer than 50 employees and hire an apprentice aged 19+. 

SMEs can get 100 per cent of their apprenticeship training fees funded by the government if: 

  • They have an annual wage bill below £3 million 
  • They have fewer than 50 employees and hire an apprentice aged 16-18. 

For more details about apprenticeship funding eligibility and requirements, read our article on apprenticeship funding rules.  

Access apprenticeship funding through the apprenticeship service account 

To access apprenticeship funding, you must register for an apprenticeship service account where all levy funds and government apprenticeship funding is automatically deposited. 

Find out more about reserving your apprenticeship funds. 

What grants can SMEs use to fund apprenticeships? 

Grants can be used in any way seen fit by the SME but many use them to fund the cost of hiring an apprentice, including equipment, travel, uniform and wages.  

The government is currently offering a £1,000 grant to any small business that takes on an apprentice aged 16-18 (or up to 25 with an EHAC plan).  

Until January 2022, they are also offering a £3,000 grant to businesses taking on an apprentice to support recovery from COVID-19. 

Apprenticeship grants may occasionally be available from local authorities and industry associations.  

How to spend apprenticeship funding 

All government apprenticeship funding will be deposited into your apprenticeship service account and can be spent on any of the following: 

  • Training a new recruit through an apprenticeship 
  • Upskilling an existing member of staff through an apprenticeship 
  • Apprenticeship End Point Assessments (EPA). 

Apprenticeship grants are only applicable for newly hired members of staff, however, these funds are not limited to the expenses above.  

Find out more about spending apprenticeship funds.  

As an SME, you’ll only ever need to contribute up to five per cent of the funds for apprenticeship training thanks to funding from the government.

For more information about the funding and grants available for your small business, get in touch with our apprenticeship funding experts on 03333 222 666.  

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