The benefits of investing in the learning and development of your workforce are endless. By helping employees to boost their knowledge and experience, they’ll grow in confidence, remain in their job longer as a loyal employee, improve their job satisfaction and give you a competitive advantage over other employers when recruiting.

Your employees will have more skills and knowledge at their fingertips, leading them to be better prepared for the challenging situations that our fast-paced and complex environment can throw at them.

Whilst it can’t be denied that it is crucial to invest in the learning and development of your team, the biggest barrier to doing so often is the availability of the money to pay for it.

New schemes and cash incentives have been launched by the government to help the economy recover from COVID-19 with a focus on creating long-term job opportunities. These initiatives open the door for so many employers to be able to invest in their people – whether that’s through apprenticeships, vocational training, or kick-starting their career in the sector.

Build Back Better and Plan for Jobs

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chancellor Rishi Sunak put forward his vision to support, create and protect jobs for now and the future.

Originally coined Plan for Jobs, and revamped as Build Back Better as part of the Chancellor’s Budget 2021, the package of support is intended to secure the UK’s long-term economic success.

It aims to achieve this by focusing on developing the skills of people to help them gain new employment, or better jobs.

Here are a few of our top picks to help you invest in the future of your setting with training opportunities:

Cash Incentives for Apprenticeships

From 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021, the government is incentivising employers to hire new apprentices by offering cash rewards.

Employers in England will receive a pay out of £3,000 per new apprentice hire (compared with £1,500 per new apprentice hire, or £2,000 for those aged 24 and under, under the previous Plans for Jobs scheme).

This payment is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the government provides for all new 16 to 18 year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan, where that applies.

Lifetime Skills Guarantee

As part of Build Back Better, the government has introduced a Lifetime Skills Guarantee to give people access to the education and training they need throughout their lives.

Starting from April 2021, adults looking to achieve their first full advanced level (Level 3) qualification, which is equivalent to an advanced technical certificate or diploma, or two full A levels, will be able to access a free, fully funded course as part of the government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

These courses, in areas including business skills and health and social care, will improve people’s employment prospects and open up new opportunities.

Kickstart Scheme

Starting from November 1st 2020, you can use the government-funded Kickstart Scheme to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are aged 16 to 24, currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

The scheme is available in England, Scotland and Wales. The job placements should support the participants to develop the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the scheme.

Funding will be given to employers to cover:

  • 100% of the National Minimum Wage for up to 25 working hours a week
  • Associated employer National Insurance contributions
  • Employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions
  • There is also cash payment of £1,500 per job placement available to cover setup costs, support and training.

Any organisation, regardless of size, can apply for funding. The job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs. So they must not replace existing or planned vacancies, or cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment.


Traineeships are available for young people aged 16 to 24 and for young people with Education and Health Care Plans up to age 25.

They can last from 6 weeks up to 12 months, though usually traineeships last for less than 6 months. They offer young people the opportunity to gain basic employability skills, on-the-job training and prepare them for work with the goal that they will progress into either an apprenticeship or employment after the traineeship.

The government will fund employers who provide trainees with work experience, at a rate of £1,000 per trainee for up to up to ten learners in each of the nine government regions (therefore the maximum any employer can receive is £90,000).

You’ll need to work with a training provider, like Connect2Care, to deliver the associated learning and development – this will be fully funded by the government.

Work experience in traineeships should give the young person exposure to a real workplace so they can develop the skills, knowledge, confidence, attitudes, and behaviours they need to succeed at work. Offering an exit interview on completion which will need to include meaningful feedback.

The traineeship is free to your business, but you may choose to support trainees with expenses such as transport and meals.

Learn more about funding opportunities!

As a leading provider of training solutions, we recognise that navigating the plethora of government-funded training opportunities can be a minefield. We are here to help.

We’ve developed the e-guide Funding to Fire up Your Business to bridge the gap between businesses needing cash for training and the government funding available. In this guide, we walk you through the wide variety of funding opportunities that are out there and available for you now in a simple, easy to understand way.

As always, our friendly teams are always on hand to help you uncover the best funding opportunities to suit your individual business needs.

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