Apprenticeships - the Kickstart alternative

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Apprenticeships Employers Blogs

With applications for the government Kickstart Scheme now closed, you may be looking for another cost-effective way to get new talent into your business. 

Apprenticeships are the perfect alternative. 

Many businesses have used the Kickstart scheme to support new starters and to recruit extra talent to support their operations. Apprenticeships have many of the same (and more) benefits to businesses looking to recruit.

Apprenticeships can be used for employees of any age

Contrary to popular belief, apprentices can be any age over 16. This enables candidates in their 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond to get started on a new career path. 

Whereas the Kickstart scheme limited your pool of candidates to 16-25 year olds, apprenticeships allow you to recruit talent of all ages. 

Do you have an older employee in your business who needs training? Consider upskilling them with an apprenticeship. 

Apprenticeship training is funded by the government

While Kickstart candidate wages were fully funded by the government, any training required to get them up to speed in your business had to be funded by you. All businesses are eligible to have at least 95 per cent of the apprenticeship training costs funded by the ESFA (Education and Skills Funding Agency). 

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees, with a PAYE bill below £3M, who train an apprentice aged 16-18 will have their apprenticeship training costs fully funded. 

Larger business or those with older apprentices will only have 95 per cent of the apprenticeship training costs funded but may be eligible for other apprenticeship funds that can help towards the cost of the remaining five per cent (See below) 

Read more about apprenticeship funding.

Incentive grants can support apprenticeship wages

Unlike the Kickstart Scheme, apprentice wages have to be paid by the employer. As an employer you must pay apprentices at least the minimum apprenticeship wage rate however you may be eligible for grants that can contribute towards the apprentices wages. 

For example, there is a £1000 grant available for employers hiring apprentices aged:

  • 16-18


  • 19-24 with an education, health and care plan or who has been in the care of their local authority.

Learn more about apprenticeship wages.

Learn more about apprenticeship grants.

Apprenticeships result in qualifications

One of the biggest benefits of apprenticeships for both employers and candidates is that they result in a qualification verifying the apprentice’s skills and capabilities in your industry. This also serves as excellent motivation for the employed apprentice to take on new challenges, learn new skills, and perform at their best. 

Apprenticeships last at least 12 months

The Kickstart Scheme provided only 6 months of funded employment while apprenticeships last a minimum of 12 months enabling you to have more security and stability within your staffing and business operations. 

The extended duration of an apprenticeship gives the candidate time to get to know your business on a deeper level and make contributions that can help you grow. Having spent longer with your company, the apprentice will likely be able to take on more complex tasks that require experience within the business to successfully complete. 

If you want to expand your workforce with a cost-effective solution that helps new talent break into your industry, apprenticeships are an excellent path for you. Get in touch with our team on 03333 222 666 to discuss your business and find out if apprenticeships are right for you. 

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