LEP AGE GRANT UPDATE

THE LEP APPRENTICESHIP GRANT FOR EMPLOYERS BUSINESS BRIEFING SHEET

(Apprentice starts between 1 January 2017 and 31 July 2017 – Phase 4)

The LEP has made it easier for you to employ the talent you need to grow your business with a bespoke apprenticeship grant package that offers small and medium sized employers in West Yorkshire and York a fantastic opportunity. Here are the headlines:

  •   You could get up to a maximum of £2,000 grant for each apprentice aged 16-24 whom you employ, up to a maximum of three apprentices
  •   Your business must be based in Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield or York local authority postcode areas
  •   You must employ fewer than 250 employees
  •   You will need to work with a training provider approved by the Skills Funding Agency
  •   There are some other eligibility criteria and your training provider can help you confirm that

    you are eligible

  •   The grant is currently only available where a business meets the eligibility criteria and has an apprentice starting their learning programme with a recognised SFA training provider between 1 January 2017 and 31 July 2017. However the fund is limited and so is offered on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, subject to funding availability and confirmation of eligibility
  •   To progress, you need to ask your training provider to register interest on your behalf on the LEP webpage at: www.the-lep.com/age

    Read on to find out more and check that you are eligible.

 You can only access the offer if you have not had an apprentice before or, have offered apprenticeships (16-24 years old) since September 2010, have benefitted from government (Skills Funding Agency) apprenticeship funding for training and can evidence that you have given a permanent contract of employment to at least one of these previous apprentices following the completion of their apprenticeship

Contents of this briefing paper are subject to amendment 3.1.2017

What funding is on offer?

The LEP Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (the LEP grant) provides a core grant of £1,200 per apprentice. Anadditionalincentivepaymentof£800perapprenticeisavailableifyoumeetanyof the following additional criteria:

  •   If your apprenticeship is offered as an advanced or higher apprenticeship
  •   If the apprenticeship you are providing is within one of the following LEP priority sector

    subject (apprenticeship framework) areas:

o Construction, planning and the built environment o Engineering and manufacturing technologies
o Information and communication technology
o Science and mathematics

 If you agree to pay your apprentice the ‘living wage’ or as a minimum the ‘national minimum wage’ relevant to their age (which is above the national apprenticeship wage)

If you meet the criteria for both the core grant and additional criteria you may be eligible for a total grant of up to £2,000 per apprentice. If eligible, you can claim up to three grants for three apprentices during the time the grant is available – so that’s a potential £6,000 in total. Please note: only one grant will be paid per employer for any particular apprentice.

Due to the finite nature of the funding available, the LEP grant is made available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, is subject to funding availability and confirmation of eligibility.

When is the LEP grant available?

The grant is currently available for apprentices who are employed and start their learning with an approved SFA training provider from 1 January to 31 July 2017.

Is your business eligible for this grant?

To be eligible to claim the core grant of £1,200 per apprentice you must:

  •   be based in one of the following local authority postcode areas: o Bradford

    o Calderdale o Kirklees
    o Leeds
    o Wakefield o York

  •   employ fewer than 250 employees
  •   commit to employ your apprentice for a minimum of 12 months, or for the time it takes them to complete their apprenticeship, whichever is longer
  •   agree to pay your apprentice the legal minimum requirements, at the very least. Contents of this briefing paper are subject to amendment 3.1.2017

 recruit an apprentice aged 16-24 years old who starts their training with an SFA approved training provider between 1 January 2017 and 31 July 2017

  •   have had no apprentices before or,
  •   have offered apprenticeships for 16-24 year olds since September 2010, have benefitted

    from government (Skills Funding Agency) apprenticeship training funding and can evidence that you have given a permanent contract of employment to at least one previous apprentice following the completion of their apprenticeship

In addition you will be asked to confirm that you are aware of and do not breach State Aid rules. If you are unsure about State Aid rules, you can find details at: www.gov.uk/state-aid.

To be eligible to claim the core grant where you have offered apprenticeships before you will need to be able to provide evidence such as a signed contract of employment to a previous apprentice and their first months’ pay slips. If you have any queries around suitable evidence please contact the LEP AGE Team AGE@the-lep.com

To be eligible to claim the extra £800 per apprentice incentive grant you will need to meet the additional criteria set out above.

You may be eligible if:

 You are receiving funding from the LEP’s skill service to support other forms of training for current employees and have not taken on an apprentice before – providing funding for the apprenticeship is from a training provider’s core provision

You should contact any training organisations you have been working with recently to check whether they have accessed apprenticeship programme funding for learning they have provided to you. We would strongly urge you to do this if any of your employees have undertaken work-based learning such as NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications) or diplomas.

Do your apprentices have to meet eligibility criteria?

Yes, the aim of this grant is to support you to create new jobs and recruit new 16 to 24 year olds. Therefore your apprentices must be:

  •   New recruits or an individual moving into a new apprenticeship role within your organisation
  •   Aged 16 to 24 on the start date of their apprenticeship training, as recorded by your training provider for the Skills Funding Agency
  •   Enrolled on an apprenticeship framework or standard (from May 2017) through an approved training provider recognised by the Skills funding Agency (ask your training provider to confirm)
  •   On an apprenticeship programme in your business for at least 13 weeks
  •   Employed as an apprentice for a minimum of 30 hours per week
  •   Living in England
  •   Free to be an apprentice, not taking part in full-time education elsewhere

    How does the LEP apprenticeship grant differ from other similar offers?

  •   The LEP grant is available to businesses that employ fewer than 250 employees, subject to availability, so more businesses are potentially eligible.
  •   The LEP grant offers businesses the opportunity to apply for up to three grants which could be up to a maximum value of £2,000 each (depending on business eligibility).
  •   Alternative apprenticeship grants are available for businesses based within other LEP areas where devolution of AGE has taken place.
  •   Also, additional grants may be available from other sources such as local authorities or professional bodies and institutions.

Contents of this briefing paper are subject to amendment 3.1.2017

Please check with your training provider which scheme you are eligible for. If you do not have a training provider or need more general help, please contact the Growth Service via BusinessGrowth@the-lep.com or call on 0113 348 1818

How do businesses apply for the LEP apprenticeship grant?

Businesses express interest via training providers. If you are linked to a training provider who is supporting you with apprenticeships, your provider should complete the registration form on the LEP website on your behalf once your apprentice/s start the learning programme (www.the- lep.com/age). This will be trigger the first of several eligibility checks – see attached process.

If your business passes initial eligibility checks, you will be contacted by a member of staff from the LEP by email with a request for you to complete a full grant application form. Due to the limited amount of funding available, the grant will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

How is the LEP grant paid?

Once your apprentice has been on their apprenticeship learning programme for 13 weeks, the LEP will contact you to gain confirmation that the apprentice is still in your employment and on their apprenticeship learning programme with the approved training provider and, to gather any additional evidence to support eligibility. Until this confirmation and evidence is provided, the LEP will be unable to process the grant.

Once all paperwork is received and eligibility confirmed, your grant will be paid directly into your bank account by BACS a minimum of 8 weeks after the apprentice has achieved the 13 weeks in learning criteria. The grant payment is made by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) on behalf of the LEP. As this is a grant it is exempt from VAT.

What happens if your apprentice leaves?

If your apprentice leaves or is dismissed after completing 13 weeks ‘in learning’ with an approved training provider, your entitlement to the grant payment remains. You are expected to provide ongoing employment to your apprentice(s) for the period of their apprenticeship, subject to satisfactory performance as an employee.

Is there a lot of paperwork? What is the process?

Paperwork has been kept to a minimum with the majority of details being recorded online. Once your training provider has made the initial enquiry, you will need to complete a grant application form, which will be emailed directly to you, with confirmation of eligibility for the grant. As part of the application form you will need to complete a State Aid declaration and, where appropriate, supporting evidence. You may need to liaise with your training provider for support in completing the grant application form. For more information on State Aid rules see: www.gov.uk/state-aid.

Details of businesses who have been awarded a LEP apprenticeship grant are published regularly on our LEP website http://www.the-lep.com/grantfunding

Contents of this briefing paper are subject to amendment 3.1.2017

The administration process is shown below:

Training provider completes online registration form via LEP website

LEP picks up online registration and starts eligibility checks

Training provider LEP
SME

Training provider submits data about businesses/apprenticeships to the Skills Funding Agency

carries out full eligibility criteria checks

LEP matches the initial registration form with SFA data and

LEP to inform training

provider if, following full eligibility criteria checks, business is not eligible; LEP will inform training providers of business registrations where they haven’t received ILR data

LEP informs business by email if they have qualified to complete an application form. Email will include a link to grant application form requesting company details, apprenticeship details, bank account details for BACs payments, any relevant evidence and identification of any additional criteria being claimed

LEP to inform training providers when application form has been sent to a business they have registered

Business completes and submits grant application form to the LEP (training provider to support employer if needed)

13 week trigger – LEP to email business asking for confirmation that the apprentice is still employed and in learning along with request for any extra evidence required for the additional £800 incentive payment if applicable

Business confirms and submits via email link to LEP continued training and provides any additional evidence requirements

LEP review submitted evidence to clarify eligibility

LEP

pay eligible business grant direct via BACs

 

Contents of this briefing paper are subject to amendment

3.1.2017

Who can you contact for help?

Employers already linked to a training provider should consult their training provider for further advice on the LEP apprenticeship grant.

If you are not linked to a training provider, the LEP can refer you to a relevant programme designed to help employers with less than 250 to recruit apprentices. Contact BusinessGrowth@the-lep.com or call on 0113 348 1818

Please note: the eligibility criteria and payment processes laid out in this guidance may be altered at any time by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA).

Notes: The WYCA has received control of the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers through its devolution agreement with government. Managing the apprenticeship grant programme at a local level has enabled WYCA to tailor the grant package to meet local priorities and needs. Businesses eligible for the LEP apprenticeship grant will no longer be able to apply for funding through the national scheme.

Contents of this briefing paper are subject to amendment 3.1.2017

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