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News & Publications

Incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice – ‘Extended’

If you’re thinking about hiring an apprentice, there’s no better time to do so than now and help kickstart a young person’s career.

The UK Government has extended the cash incentive window of opportunity for employers looking to recruit a new apprentice in the first quarter of 2021. Employers who take on a new apprentice (including an apprentice who has been made redundant) can now apply until 30 April 2021 (for the hiring period up to 31 March 2021) to receive an incentive payment of up to £2,000 for apprentices aged 16 to 24, or £1,500 for apprentices aged 25 and over.

This is on top of the usual £1,000 payment that companies receive for taking on an apprentice (for those aged 16 to 18 years old or under 25 with an education, health and care plan or has been in the care of their local authority).

How to apply

To receive incentive payments, employers will need to sign the latest employer agreement in their apprenticeship service account.

All employers need to create an apprenticeship service account to receive funding to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment costs. They can either create an account straight away or add their organisation’s details, PAYE scheme and sign the agreement later. Employers with an annual wage bill under £3 million (non-levy paying company) must either add a PAYE scheme or their accounts office reference number and submit the payroll data to HMRC (this can be a blank return) and advise HMRC of the intention to hire an apprentice.

The apprenticeship incentive is open to levy and non-levy paying companies. To create or to administer your apprenticeship service account, click here.

Search for an apprentice

You advertise your apprenticeship, inform the Government’s Vacancy Sharing Service of your apprenticeship opportunity. They will need to need to know about the apprenticeship, where it's based, sector specialism (e.g. Engineering and manufacturing), and how apprentices can contact you to apply. Your details will be shared with registered Gov.UK apprentices seeking opportunities within your business area. Upload your details here.

Training providers

You can search for apprenticeship training and training providers using Find apprenticeship training. Search for your discipline (e.g. engineering, technician, welding, etc.) using the Keywords function if your filter search doesn’t display any results.

Learning Standards

All new apprentices (as of 1 August 2020) must start on Apprenticeship Standards. These standards are employer-led, which means employers can specify exactly what's required from an apprentice in each specific role. Apprenticeship Standards outline the skills, knowledge and behaviours (KSBs) required to carry out a certain job role.

View the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education website. You can also view the funding bands that apply for existing apprenticeship frameworks and apprenticeship standards here.


To be eligible, the apprentice must work for you (undertaking a genuine apprenticeship job), or a connected company or charity as defined by HMRC and they must have the right to work in England and spend at least 50% of their working hours in England (when determining the eligibility from outset of the apprenticeship duration).

How you receive payment

Payment will be made via Bacs to the eligible hiring company in two equal instalments (per apprentice). The first payment is made after an apprentice completes 90 days of their apprenticeship and the second is after 365 days. The apprentice must be in post for one-year for employers to receive the full amount. Estimated payment dates for each apprentice will be shown in your apprenticeship service account.

Apprenticeship Agreement

An apprenticeship agreement must be signed at the start of the apprenticeship. It is used to confirm individual employment arrangements between the apprentice and the employer. You can download a FREE template here to use.

More information

To view the Education & Skills Funding Agency’s (ESFA) full apprenticeship fund rules and guidance, click here. Alternatively, you can contact a member of the Apprenticeships Service here.

Other funding

For information and funding allocations in one of the devolved administrations, select: Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.