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← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE 16-24)

Country of implementation
United Kingdom
General short description of the innovation
The Apprenticeship Grant for Employers of 16 to 24 year olds (AGE 16-24) aims to support businesses, which would not otherwise be in a position to recruit individuals of this age group. The National Apprenticeship Service provides AGE 16-24 to eligible employers, in respect of qualifying apprentices, with an individual value of 1,500. AGE 16-24 targets employers with less than 1000 employees, who are new to Apprenticeships or haven?t enrolled a new recruit or existing employee on an Apprenticeship programme in the previous 12 months. The full amount will be paid after the 13 week stage of the apprentice?s appointment. The maximum number of 10 Apprentices per employer can be supported by the AGE 16-24 grant. / / The policy builds on the previously existing AGE programme that was announced in 2009 and set up in early 2010. Modifications were made namely in relation to the eligibility criteria (extended) and the amount of the grant (reduced).
Target group
Policy Field
  • education
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
Since February 2012
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: structural
  • Budgets: originally 60 million were ring-fenced (if all 40,000 grants were taken up)
  • Number of intended beneficiaries: 20,000 new apprentices
  • Spatial coverage: national
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
Besides increasing the share of young people aged 16 to 24 in apprenticeships and decreasing the NEETs rate, the objective of this employer subsidy is to encourage the spread of apprenticeships into quite small businesses in recognition of the fact that proportionally fewer of these businesses have historically engaged with apprenticeship.
Type of innovation
  • new policy, practice or measure
  • retrenchment or expansion of an existing/earlier policy
New outputs
  • subsidies/tax-credits (employment subsidies for employers)
  • training schemes
Intended target group
young people (16-24)
Working age population
  • employment situation (apprentices)
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • central state (DWP, National Apprenticeship Service)
  • citizen communities
  • employers (organised or individual) (The majority of employers are small: over 60 per cent employ 10 or fewer staff and over 80 per cent employ fewer than 25 staff. The programme?s objective to engage at least 50 per cent of its employers with 50 or fewer staff has been clearly achieved and exceeded.)
Intended output
  • training schemes (The programme has delivered around 30,000 AGE 16 to 24 Apprenticeships in the 2012-13 financial year, not meeting the original target of 40,000 grants. )
Did the innovation have any outcome related to job quantity?
Intended and unintended outcomes
40,000 planed; actually only 20,000 new apprentices
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
Governmental officials believe the programme to be a valuable contribution to the overall government policy to tackle youth unemployment in conditions of slow economic growth and to the rate at which opportunities for young Apprentices can be created (BIS 2013:4). The Department for Business, Skills and Innovations? evaluation surveys suggest deadweight is about a fifth (measured as the percentage of employers saying that the ?grant made no difference to decision to take on an Apprentice now?) (BIS 2013). Following the surveys over 40% of employers pay above the minimum wage rate to their AGE 16-24 Apprentices. Surveys estimate a completion rate for AGE 16-24 of between 75 and 80%, comparable with Apprentices in the same age group who are not supported by the grant. 85% of employers were new to Apprenticeship. / / This result is comparable to the previously existing AGE programme that was set up in 2010. According to an evaluation of the programme in 2011 (BMG 2011), there may have been moderate deadweight in the programme of around 16-21%. Additionally, employer responses suggest that the grant had a significant minority displacement effect: 38% of employers said they would have taken on older Apprentices if the grant had not been available. / / As an ILO report suggests, scheme like the AGE 16-24 ?have proved to be necessary in times of cyclical downturns in the economy when the supply of Apprentice places is reduced? and particularly that ?short-term targeted government subsidies have been used to compensate companies for the additional cost of taking ?hard to place? Apprentices? (ILO 2012) / / References: / - BMG (2011): An evaluation of the Apprentice Grant for Employers (AGE) programme, Birmingham. Available: . / - BIS (2013): Evaluation of the Apprenticship Grant for Employers (AGE 16-24) programme, Research Paper no. 157. Available: / - ILO (2012): Overview of Apprenticeship systems and issues; ILO contribution to the G20 Task Force on Employment, International Labour Organisation, November.
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