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Apprentice grant scheme opened up to medium-sized operators

30 August 2012 by
Apprentice grant scheme opened up to medium-sized operators

Training provider Lifetime has welcomed reforms to the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE), which will open up the scheme to larger hospitality operators.

The changes mean that businesses with up to 1,000 employees can now claim grants of £1,500 to help fund apprentices.

Lifetime chief executive Alex Khan said the scheme would help entice more young people into hospitality jobs.

He added: "We welcome the changes announced by the Government which will make AGE relevant to mid-sized businesses, including hospitality operators who have not been able to participate.

"The changes also mean that a company can receive grants for employing a greater number of apprentices - up to 10 aged 16-24 - which is also a positive development in terms of addressing the pressing challenge of high youth unemployment."

Working on behalf of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), Lifetime is one of the training providers that administers the scheme, which provides financial support to companies that offer employment and training through an apprenticeship to people aged 16-24.

It has already helped small hospitality businesses employ apprentices - including Bristol pub the Waldergrave Arms in East Harptree. Waldergrave Arms landlords Lee and Sharon Turner were able to employ two apprentices who have developed their food preparation, cooking and kitchen skills on their way to achieving a professional cookery level 2 qualification.

Sharon said: "We hadn't considered apprenticeships before as we were worried about our staff spending too much time away from the business at college and thought it would take up too much of our time.

"Lifetime has demonstrated just how flexible apprenticeship training can be and how easy it was for us as employers to get them started."

Khan added: "It is clear that this initiative from the NAS has enabled a number of smaller organisations to consider using apprenticeships for the first time. Now that it is being opened up to mid-sized businesses, it will expand the number of employers that are able to participate in the AGE scheme. We are confident this will help more young people get the training they need to develop career skills in hospitality."

The four main changes to the AGE scheme mean that:

â- It will be open to mid-sized businesses with up to 1,000 employees, although at least 50% of the grants (20,000 of the 40,000 grants available) should still be targeted at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) employing no more than 250 employees.
â- There will be an increase in the number of grants a single employer can claim - 10 compared with the current limit of three.
â- The "three-year rule" has been relaxed so that an employer will be eligible for AGE funding if they have not employed an apprentice in the past 12 months.

Lifetime calls on hospitality to use apprenticeships to help young out of unemployment >>

Apprenticeships - the best way to learn >>

Was a career in hospitality the right choice and would you recommend it? We want your views >>

By Janet Harmer

E-mail your comments to Janet Harmer here.

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