The Welsh Government has invested a further £18.7m to extend incentives to support businesses in recruiting apprentices in Wales.
The Employer Incentive Scheme, which will now run until 30 September, is a key part of the Welsh Government’s Covid commitment to support businesses and workers in recovering from the impacts of coronavirus.
Launched in autumn 2020, the incentives have already seen more than 1,300 new apprentices recruited.
Today’s news means businesses will be able to claim up to £4,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25. This is an uplift from the previous £3,000 grant that was on offer.
The £4,000 incentive will be available to businesses that are employing a young apprentice for at least 30 hours per week.
Welsh businesses could also receive £2,000 for each new under 25 year old apprentice they employ for less than 30 hours a week, which is an increase of £500.
The improved incentives for employers recognises the particular economic impact of Covid-19 on people aged under 25.
For workers aged 25 and over, businesses can access £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire on a 30 hour or more contract, and a £1,000 incentive for apprentices working less than 30 hours.
Payments are restricted to ten learners per business.
Dedicated funding is also available to recruit disabled people and for workers who lost a previous apprenticeship position because of coronavirus.
The Welsh Government has already reached its target of creating 100,000 apprenticeships in this Senedd term, and the incentives are ensuring more crucial employment opportunities for apprentices.
Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “Apprenticeships make a big contribution to our economy and the extension and increased offer of our incentives will provide important opportunities for people of all ages as well as our business community.
“We are already seeing the positive impact the scheme is having and I want to see that continue.
“The Welsh Government has provided crucial support to businesses and workers throughout the pandemic and today’s announcement builds on that.
“Our Covid commitment is a key part of our Economic Resilience and Reconstruction Mission and will be vital as we rebuild our economy so that it is more prosperous but also fairer and greener than ever before.”
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans added: “Apprenticeships help people gain high-quality vocational skills, and provide opportunities for businesses and the economy to thrive.
“The additional funding we’re announcing today, which includes £8.7m to support the extension of the Employer Incentives Scheme, will continue to support employers to recruit apprentices and young people who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.”
The Welsh Government’s new ‘We’re in Your Corner’ campaign, which launched last week, also encourages firms the length and breadth of Wales to take advantage of recruitment and skills support for new and existing employees available via the Skills Gateway for Business.