Applications for traineeship incentive now open

In July 2020, the Government announced that it would be reforming and expanding the traineeships programme to help young people in England, regardless of background, who are most at risk of unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic. This new scheme opened in September 2020. To accompany this reformed traineeship initiative, employers can now apply for a £1000 traineeship incentive grant for a maximum of 10 placements completed between 1 September 2020 up to, and including, 31 July 2021.

For employers to be eligible for the incentive, trainees must have undertaken a minimum of 70 hours of work experience over a period between 6 weeks and 12 months; the work they complete must be of high quality, and trainees must have received a certain level of qualification. Trainees should have also progressed to either an apprenticeship, other employment, or further education. Where none of the above outcomes are achieved, it is expected that trainees will be able to demonstrate, on a CV, significantly increased skills and work experience that will allow them to find work in the future.

When applying for the incentive, employers should keep in mind that although they can take on as many trainees as they wish, they will only be able to claim a grant for up to 10 trainees. However, multi-sited employers who wish to offer traineeships across England can do so and claim the £1000 grant per trainee per region, up to a maximum of 10 trainees in each region. 

Employers can claim the grant for all work placements that have been completed since 1 September 2020 by sending an application via the Government’s website after each placement has been completed. The deadline for making claims is 21 October 2021 – this is also the deadline for employers to send details of the outcome of the traineeships they completed by 31 July 2021.  

It is important to note that employers are not under any legal obligation to pay their trainees for the work experience hours they undertake in order to qualify for the incentive. This means that trainees are exempt from National Minimum Wage rules and are also not entitled to any of the statutory employment rights afforded to employees and workers, such as rights to paid annual leave and sick pay, etc.  

In similar news –

The Government has made it even simpler for employers of all sizes to benefit from joining the Kickstart Scheme, an initiative first introduced in July 2020 to create new high-quality jobs to help 16-24-year-old unemployed people on Universal Credit.

The limit requiring employers to create a minimum of 30 vacancies before applying directly or having to partner with gateways has been removed, meaning new gateways can no longer be formed. However, employers wanting support with the scheme can continue to partner with existing gateway organisations.

With similar initiatives in place, such as the apprenticeship and traineeship initiatives, employers who wish to make use of any of them may benefit from familiarising themselves with their different requirements. Whilst the overarching theme of the incentives is to help young people get into work, each will have different rules governing them.

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