London SMEs to benefit from £14m apprenticeship funding

In a bid to boost apprenticeships in London, Boris Johnson has announced a £14m fund for small and medium sized businesses to offer an extra incentive to take on an apprentice in 2015.

From January, the Apprentice Grant for Employers (AGE) will rise from the current limit of £1500 to £3000. The funding pot for SMEs will allow employers to apply for £3,000 per apprentice they employ.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “More than 20,000 workplaces in the capital are already benefiting from having apprentices in their workforce. A large proportion of these are small and medium-sized businesses but we want to help even more of these companies take on even more apprentices. I urge company bosses from all corners of the capital to take up this cash incentive and help young Londoners in 2015 get a foot on the ladder to success.”

Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “It’s excellent news that the Greater London Authority is providing extra support for small businesses in London to take on apprentices. Apprentices offer businesses of all sizes the chance to increase their talent pool and get the skills they need grow. Over 100,000 apprenticeships across the country have already been supported through the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers, and it’s good to see that the GLA are building on this successful model to grow apprenticeships further in the capital’s thriving small businesses.”

Steve Warwick, London Regional Chair, Federation of Small Businesses, said: “The Federation of Small Businesses are delighted that the Mayor has committed to working with the LondonLocal Enterprise Panel to reintroduce the uplift of the Grant [for taking on an apprentice] from £1,500 to £3,000 for SME’s.  FSB research shows that London is one of the costliest capital cities to do business in, particularly in terms of high employment costs. We have long argued that the Grant for London businesses should be higher than other parts of the country and this is welcome.  It is important that the funding goes to businesses that need the incentive the most and not larger businesses that would have invested in apprentices anyway.”