A £7.2m grant scheme to help small and medium sized businesses in Greater Manchester take on young apprentices has been announced.  The Greater Manchester Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (GM AGE), is available for apprentices who start from 1st April 2015.

The grant is worth £1500 to Greater Manchester employers employing up to 250 workers, who recruit an apprentice as long as they haven’t had an apprentice for the last 12 months, and employers can claim up to three grants.  There are also additional payments if young people progress from a Traineeship to an Apprenticeship, and for Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships, which can bring the total grant to a maximum of £3500 per recruit. 

Welcoming the announcement, Jayne Worthington, interim managing director of The Skills Company, Greater Manchester’s largest provider of Apprenticeships said: "I know it can be a big decision for busy companies to take on an apprentice.  Employers may be concerned about the time that recruitment and training will take, and anxious about how it will work, but The Skills Company can take away much of the administrative burden from employers, and leave them to do what they do best, growing their business.”

"The grant is a token to acknowledge the commitment that employers make to taking on a young apprentice.  I hope many more people will take up this cash incentive to develop their business, and train up the workforce of the future."

GM AGE is administered by New Economy, the policy, strategy and research body for Greater Manchester on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and is only available to employers with an apprentice in a Greater Manchester based workplace, as the model is part of the Government’s devolution deal for the conurbation.  Apprenticeships have become more popular than ever as higher education tuition fees have risen, and last year, there was a record number of Apprenticeship applications in Greater Manchester.

Jayne Worthington added: "Apprenticeships come with a guarantee of quality, giving young people a job with training and a recognised qualification, and are proven to deliver a significant return on investment, so this really is a win-win initiative for employers. There has never been a better time to recruit an apprentice, so I hope more organisations will look at how they can benefit from this grant over the coming 12 months and reap the rewards of a more motivated, skilled and qualified workforce."