Apprentices have been a mainstay for the construction sector for countless decades, but we often find firms aren’t taking advantage of all the funding they have available to them.
In this guide, we’ll highlight the varied sources of apprenticeship funding construction companies can take advantage of, the criteria for getting it and the best ways to make use of it.
The Apprenticeship Levy and associated reforms
The biggest change to apprenticeships in recent years came on the back of the launch of the Apprenticeship Levy. While we’ve covered this in-depth in other posts, some of the biggest changes included:
- Simplifying the funding process for both large and small employers
- Making apprenticeships more engaging, by involving employers in the creation of training standards and allowing them to closely customise course content
- Removing much of the eligibility criteria around age and prior qualifications
- Taking steps towards putting vocational qualifications on an even footing with their academic counterparts.
In terms of funding, larger construction firms will have begun paying into the Apprenticeship Levy from April this year at a rate of 0.5 per cent of their annual payroll. Given the fact many businesses in the sector were already paying into the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) levy, there were some understandable concerns on this front, however, the funds aren’t ‘lost’ - provided they’re recouped via apprenticeship training.
Any money paid into the Levy, plus a government top-up of ten per cent, will be held in the company’s online Apprenticeship Service account, where they can be directed to providers as required. There are a few more ins and outs around how the funds can be used, which you can find out more about in our stand-alone guide.
Construction companies not paying into the Levy can also take advantage of additional government funding through the ‘co-investment’ system. This enables employers to put up ten per cent of the training costs, with the government covering the other 90 per cent.
Additional funding for young apprentices
Construction firms taking on apprentices between the ages of 16 to 18 will also receive an additional 20 per cent increase in funding, although this will be directed to the training provider, rather than into the employer’s Apprenticeship Service account.
As an incentive to take on more young apprentices, the government is also offering an extra £1,000 (paid in two halves, triggered at three and 12-month milestones) to cover any additional costs associated with supporting their learning.
Firms with fewer than 50 employees will also be exempt from paying the 10 per cent co-investment charge when hiring apprentices in this age bracket, which means all training costs will be covered by the government (as long as they fall within the funding cap for that particular standard).
Other government funding streams
Additional government top-ups aren’t limited to 16 to 18-year-olds either, with an extra £1,000 available to both providers and employers when taking on apprentices aged 19 to 24 that have previously been in care or have a Local Authority Education or Health Care Plan.
For construction companies operating in some of the country’s most disadvantaged regions, there’s further funding available. This takes the form of a £600 ‘disadvantage uplift’ payment for the 10 per cent of Britain’s most deprived areas (as set out in the Index of Multiple Deprivation), £300 for the next 10 per cent bracket and £200 for the following seven per cent.
It’s important to note, however, that this only applies to framework-based training, rather than new apprenticeship standards.
For apprentices who don’t meet the minimum necessary levels of maths and English education - a further £500 can be claimed by training providers, as well as an extra £150 (or potentially more) for apprentices who have a learning disability that requires additional support.
The Levy and its accompanying reforms do nothing to alter the funding that businesses in the construction sector have had available through the CITB for some time.
Employers registered with the CITB in England and Wales can register for grants worth up to £10,000 (subject to eligibility) and companies with a payroll of £80,000 or less can claim their grants without paying into the CITB levy.
This provides a wealth of funding opportunities for smaller companies, who can potentially claim both government and CITB funding, without having to pay anything out. Even those who do pay in via the CITB or co-investment can get out much more than they put in, which means they can take on new apprentices and mitigate the financial implications of a dip in work, covering holiday pay and many other issues.
Hopefully, we’ve managed to shed some light on the vast range of funding streams available to companies in the construction industry, but if you’re looking for further advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on LinkedIn or Twitter.
And if you’re seeking hands-on support with taking on new apprentices and claiming your share of funding, we’re highly experienced in helping companies take advantage of all the funding available to them. We’ll even fill out the paperwork for you!
To find out more, simply book an obligation-free chat with our industrial team today. And if you’re looking for further information about the Apprenticeship Levy, be sure to download our free, comprehensive ebook guide: