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Government extend COVID19 Apprentiships Incentive Scheme until 31 March 2021

'Plan for Jobs' skills and employment programmes: information for employers

How to register and use the apprenticeship service as an employer

From 1 August the UK Government has increased the payments made to employers when employing a new apprentice. These arrangements also affect the way employers make arrangements to employ the new apprentice and also to engage with training provides such as Harlow College. 

Employers may still use Harlow College to help recruit a new apprentice and this service remains FREE OF CHARGE. However, you will now need to first register as a business with the Apprenticeship Service and also reserve funding for apprentice training. The process is straightforward, and we are always available to help. 

Please follow this below link and the on-screen prompts to complete the application and booking direct with the Apprenticeship Service:

It is very important you register, as the additional incentive payment(s) offered by ESFA will only be paid if you have registered before hiring an apprentice. 

IMPORTANT: You must also select Harlow College as your nominated training provider partner for the training you wish the apprentice to receive.

You may either advertise the apprentice role directly or ask Harlow College to help you find the best candidate, which remains a free of charge service. Call us today on 01279 868212 or send us an email


When you hire new apprentices between 1 August 2020 and 31 March 2021, you can apply for extra funding as below:

For apprentices aged:

  • 16 to 24, you’ll receive £2,000
  • over 25, you’ll receive £1,500
The payment is in addition to the existing £1,000 employers receive when taking on a new  apprentice who is:
  • aged 16 to 18 years old
  • under 25 and has an education, health and care plan or has been in the care of their local authority
Also: You could get the incentive payment when hiring an apprentice who’s been made redundant, as long as they’re new to your organisation.

The Apprentice

Most of the training within an Apprenticeship is on-the-job, working with a mentor to learn job specific skills in the workplace. Off-the-job training will depend on the occupational area and your requirements and needs. This training may be delivered in the workplace or through day or block release at premises away from the working environment i.e. a college.

Typically, the apprentice will spend four days at work and one day at college. They must be in paid employment for at least 30 hours a week which includes both the on and off-the-job training.

The process of hiring your Apprentice


We will:
  • Advise you on the Apprenticeship that would suit your role and give you all the information you need
  • Take details of your vacancy by phone, email or face-to-face meeting if you'd prefer
  • Advertise your vacancy on national websites and our Harlow College website
  • Shortlist candidates and send you the applications
  • Arrange the interviews
  • Enrol your apprentice

All you need to do is:

  • Give us details of your job role
  • Decide who you want to interview
  • Choose a successful candidate

Our assessors will visit to complete all the necessary paperwork with you.

How to grow your business with apprentices

We are your perfect Apprenticeship training partner

  • As well as offering a FREE recruitment service we will provide support from initial enquiry through to Apprenticeship completion.
  • We offer a wide range of Apprenticeships within a variety of industry sectors.
  • Our staff have years of industry experience and a wealth of knowledge when it comes to training young people.

Apprenticeship Levy payers

We can help with the set-up of your Digital Account. Selecting Harlow College as a training supplier is one simple click away. Ask for our Levy Account set-up guide or one-to-one assistance from our experienced team.

Training costs

Funding is available towards the training costs of an Apprentice. The size of the contribution varies depending on the size of your organisation, the age of your apprentice and the occupational area in which you require training.

You may be eligible for the full cost of training to be paid by the government; you may have to pay 10% of the training cost or you may have access to your Apprenticeship Levy if you are a large employer.

You may be entitled to incentives for employing a young person – see below:

Employer grants for taking on young apprentices


When you hire new apprentices between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021, you can apply for extra funding as below:For apprentices aged:
  • 16 to 24, you’ll receive £2,000
  • over 25, you’ll receive £1,500
The payment is in addition to the existing £1,000 employers receive when taking on a new  apprentice who is:
  • aged 16 to 18 years old
  • under 25 and has an education, health and care plan or has been in the care of their local authority

Also: You could get the incentive payment when hiring an apprentice who’s been made redundant, as long as they’re new to your organisation.

Training younger apprentices

All employers will receive £1,000 if, at the start of the apprenticeship, the apprentice is aged between:
  • 16-18 years old
  • 19-24 years old and who has previously been in care or who has an Education, Health and Care plan provided by their local authority
This payment will be made to the employer in two equal instalments via the training provider.


> How to grow your business with apprentices

Get in Touch

Call 01279 868212

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is a way for young people and adults to earn while they learn in a real job, gaining a relevant and useful qualification. Apprenticeships are available at intermediate, advanced, higher and degree level. Hiring apprentices will help your business to grow talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

The Apprenticeship is structured to build the skills, knowledge and behaviours required for your workforce. It involves 20% off-the-job training, skills building in the workplace and an End Point Assessment of competency upon completion of the training programme. Some Apprenticeships also include a diploma qualification.

Apprenticeships are available to businesses of all sizes and sectors in England, and can last from between 12 months to 4 years. They are linked to job roles or occupations, over 1,500 of them across 170 industries. The range of Apprenticeships available mean that each one is relevant and appropriate both for your business and the apprentice.

Where is Apprenticeship training delivered?

  • From our large, modern campus in Harlow
  • At your premises
  • From our new campus at London Stansted Airport (from September 2018)
  • Online/Blended learning

Is the College still offering apprenticeships during Covid-19?

Yes, both Harlow College and Stansted Airport College are still taking on new apprentices in over 25 approved Apprenticeship Standard training programmes.

Have we missed the start date for a new apprentice?

Probably not, as many of our training programmes offer variable start dates throughout the year, or have periodic starts such as Easter or New Year. We will always try to accommodate your particular needs where possible. Just call to ask 01279 868212

Is there a cost to the employer for the training an apprentice receives?

If the employer is not a Levy Paying Employer the most that will be paid is 5% of the cost of the training programme, the government pays the remaining 95% of the cost of training. However, typically*, small employers with less than 50 staff do not pay anything at all, the Government pays 100% of the training costs! Check out the funding information here: or call us and ask how funding affects your business 01279 868212

Can the college recommend a student to become my new apprentice?

Yes! Some of the best new apprentices are recruited from Harlow College students who have been on work experience programmes with our network of local employers. Our Pre-Apprenticeship Engineering programme has a wonderful success rate and helps to find talented apprentices for many local engineering companies. Please ask how to find a new student/apprentice by calling 01279 868212

Can I use apprenticeship training to up-skill or retrain my existing staff?

Yes, subject to certain ESFA funding rules*, employees may be up-skilled and trained as an apprentice. The apprenticeship must be linked to their current job, allow the apprentice to develop new skills that will allow them to succeed in their chosen occupation and should include learning that is different to any qualifications they already hold. More info here: Please call our team and we can suggest what training best fits your employee’s job description or duties 01279 868212

I’ve heard about the need to ‘manage apprenticeship funds’. What does this mean and how do I do this?

Government has a very useful website explaining how to understand and manage apprenticeship funds:

If my company receives up to £3,000 for employing a new apprentice, what can I spend the money on?

The payments may be spent on anything to support your organisation’s costs. For example, you could spend it on facilities, uniforms including PPE, your apprentice’s travel, or their on their salary. You do not have to pay it back.*

How is COVID19 affecting apprentice’s attendance at College?

We have put in place approved social distancing and safe working practices at all College sites and apprentices will still be attending for regular training sessions. However, attendance times and duration of sessions will vary from subject to subject.  We have also developed a full range of blended-learning for apprentices to access when not attending College.

What Level of training do you offer at College?

Our apprenticeship training programmes offer Levels 2-5. A Level 2 apprenticeship is equivalent to a pass at GCSE Grade 4-9 (A*-C) and some Level 4/5 apprenticeships include Foundation Degrees and Higher National Diplomas. See more information here (link under Please get in contact to ask for more information on the subject you are interested in. 01279 868212

When will we get the extra incentive payments?

The extra COVID19 related payments of £2,000 for apprentices aged 16-24 or £1,500 for those aged over 25, will come directly to your business from ESFA. You will receive 2 equal instalments: 50% after the apprentice completes 90 days of their apprenticeship and the remaining sum after 365 days. You must have applied for the payments and followed all funding rules.*

Are apprenticeships still day-release?

The requirement is that an apprentice should spend 20% of their contracted hours in ‘off-the-job training’; so for a typical 35-37 paid hours week this equates to a full day per week of training. This time may be spent at College, at work or at home in apprenticeship training tasks.

If you have further question you need an answer to call 01279 868212

*Harlow College strives publish only the latest and up-to-date Government information, however, employers should always rely upon the information found on Government websites and Harlow College is not responsible for any errors or omissions in published information. The latest advice and rules should always be available here: Information is for employers and apprentices based in England.

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