Apprentice Retention Scheme | Transport Training Services

New Apprentice Retention Scheme Launched by DfE for Employers

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September 2020

TTS is delighted to have received early information relating to a new apprentice retention scheme, announced by the Department for the Economy (DfE).

The news initially broke on 4th September via various local news outlets (e.g. BBC).

This is extremely positive news which could see employers being paid up to £3,700 for each apprentice that they train and retain.

We have pursued further information on the scheme from DfE and can now confirm the following:

Q: If an employer takes on an apprentice from 31st August will they qualify for the £3,000 incentive or will it only come into effect from today?

A: Employers will be eligible for all apprentices (AppsNI and HLA) that they recruited from the 1st April 2020

Q: If an employer has already paid off their apprentices, can they avail of the £3,700 if they reemploy those they have already let go?

A: Yes, If the Apprentice was furloughed, then let go and re-employed the employer will be eligible for this scheme – date of “re-employment” will impact upon total eligibility

Q: When will the incentive be paid?

A: Full details will be published online this week however:

  • Recruitment Incentive – Employer becomes eligible to apply for £2k after 90 days employment, with remaining £1k payable if retained for 200 days

  • Furlough Retention – Assuming employed / returned from Furlough before the 1st Nov, the employer can apply for the £500 return incentive, once one full month of employment has been completed (for early returners this would be the month of Nov 2020), from 1st December 2020. They can then apply for a further (up to) £2k of retain incentive in April 2021, for the period the apprentice is retained beyond the return month.  The maximum retain period available is 4 months, £500 incentive per month, from 1st Dec 20 – 31st Mar 21.  The returned furloughed apprentices become eligible to apply for final £1,200 once apprenticeship has been successfully completed

Q: How will it be paid?  Through HMRC reduced deductions, directly from DfE or through the training contractor?

A: Directly from DfE – application process currently under development. We will publish full details as soon as possible

Q: Will the incentive simply top up the existing employer incentives already built into ApprenticeshipsNI?

A: They are separate however employer will remain eligible for any existing DfE incentives and the UK Gov Coronavirus Job Retention Bonus

This is very welcome news indeed and the funds are much needed to help sustain apprenticeships and the economy.  TTS will endeavour to keep you updated as more information becomes available.

If you are interested in recruiting an automotive or transport industry apprentice, please contact our dedicated Careers Development Officer, Robert Deignan on 07736958355 or via email on

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