Coronavirus: Apprenticeship Return, Retain and Result Scheme

News article

The Apprenticeship Return, Retain & Result Scheme (RRR) provides incentive payments to employers to support the return, retention and result for apprentices

Businesses that have had to furlough an apprentice under the terms of the UK Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be able to access incentive payments through the Apprenticeship Return, Retain and Result Scheme (RRR).

The scheme will help you return your apprentice(s) from furlough, and retain them through to successful completion of their apprenticeship.

This scheme is still open for applications.

Applications for the Return element of this scheme closed on 30 November 2021. The Retain and Result elements may only be claimed by employers who have successfully claimed the Return element in respect of the same apprentice(s). No other deadlines currently exist for applications to this scheme. The end date of any Retain claim period must be no later than 31 March 2022.

Please do not submit applications before you are eligible to and are able to supply all the required evidence as detailed on the application form.

The total amount payable under the scheme will be a maximum of £3,700 per apprentice, distribution as follows:

  • Return - £500 per returned furloughed apprentice payable for the first full month of paid apprenticeship completed between 1 November 2020 and 31 October 2021.
  • Retain – maximum of £2,000 available: £500 per month for up to 4 consecutive months of paid apprenticeship following the 'return' month between 1 December 2020 and 31 March 2022.
  • Result - £1,200 for successful completion of all apprenticeship components by a returned furloughed apprentice.


Please note: All queries on this scheme or your application should be made by emailing the Department for the Economy at

Who is Eligible?

You cannot apply to more than one scheme in respect of the same apprentice(s). If you are in the rare position where you are eligible to apply to both the New Apprenticeship Incentive Scheme AND the Return, Retain and Result Scheme, you must decide which ONE scheme that you wish to submit an application to.

This scheme is open to employers participating in the Department for the Economy funded ApprenticeshipsNI (AppsNI) or Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) programmes, who return apprentices furloughed via the UK Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to work with payments as follows:

Return Incentive - £500 per returned apprentice

  • Payable for the first complete month of paid employment for the returned apprentice and completed between 1 November 2020 and 31 October 2021.
  • For those who returned apprentices from furlough before 1 November 2020, continued employment for the month of November 2020, will constitute the earliest qualifying period for the 'return' incentive. This incentive will be paid on submitted claims with appropriate evidence of furlough, apprenticeship and paid employment.

Retain Incentive – you will be able to apply for up to £2,000 for each apprentice you have retained

  • £500 will be available for each full month for a period of up to 4 consecutive months following the 'return' month and completed between 1 December 2020 to the end of March 2022.
  • The period of retain will also adjust to reflect any in-month apprentice returners. For example, if an apprentice returned on 12 November, the return month would be captured as 12 November to 11 December.
  • If an apprentice is 'flexi-furloughed' during the retain period payments will be calculated on a prorate basis based upon the percentage of time spent in work. You can choose to delay the 'retain' claim period until the period of flexi-furlough has ended provided the period is completed by 31 March 2022.

Result Incentive – £1,200 for successful completion of all apprenticeship components by a returned furloughed apprentice

  • This incentive is payable alongside any of the other employer incentives and will be payable on submission of proof of full framework achievement of the ApprenticeshipsNI (AppsNI) or Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA).
  • The timing of this payment will depend upon when the apprenticeship is successfully completed and will be payable for all successful completions beginning from 1 November 2020.

To note: Once an apprenticeship is complete, no further retain incentive beyond the completion date can be claimed. However is the apprentice moves to a higher level, employers can maintain eligibility for return and retain payments by delaying 'result' until the end of the apprentice's new level.

What evidence will I need?

It is important that you retain evidence of when:

  • your apprentice was furloughed
  • your apprentice returned and was retained, in paid employment during the period claimed, this can be up to the total period of 5 months (1-month return and up to 4 months retained) and,
  • your apprentice has continued and completed their ApprenticeshipsNI (AppsNI) or Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) programme

Further details of evidence requirements will be detailed in the application pack.

How to apply?

The Apprenticeship Return, Retain and Result Scheme is now open for applications.

Download the applicant claim form for the Apprenticeship Return, Retain and Result Scheme (PDF, 442K).

Please send completed forms and all required evidence, or any queries you may have regarding the scheme or your application to

Please note it is the responsibility of the applicant (employer/company) to ensure that they have sought permission to supply personal details of individuals (apprentices) they are claiming for to support their claim. Download the privacy notice for apprenticeships recovery incentives (DOC, 59K)

First published 18 September 2020


If an employer has made a furloughed apprentice redundant can they be re-employed to avail of the retention scheme?

Yes, if the Apprentice was furloughed, then let go, and re-employed, the employer will be eligible for this scheme – the date of 're-employment' will however impact upon the total amount they can claim.

Do employers need to meet certain criteria to be included in the scheme e.g. is there a minimum / maximum number of employees, is it open only to certain sectors?

No, the scheme is open to all employers who have an apprentice that is participating on the Department for the Economy (DfE) funded ApprenticeshipsNI (AppsNI) or Higher Level Apprenticeships (HLA) programmes and was furloughed as part of the UK Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. If you are unsure whether your apprentice is participating on either AppsNI or HLA, please contact their training provider for confirmation.

What is the eligibility for apprentices who were not furloughed as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

The scheme is designed to help employers to return furloughed apprentices only. There must be evidence available that the apprentice was furloughed to qualify.

Will employers still receive their original existing AppsNI employer incentive?

Yes, the 'Result' incentive will be payable alongside any existing AppsNI employer incentive upon successful completion of the full framework as per AppsNI Operating Requirements.

Are the incentives available to public sector employers?

No, the interventions only apply to apprentices who are participating in DfE funded AppsNI or Higher Level Apprenticeships (HLA) programmes. Public sector apprentices are not eligible for this funding. 

Do qualification outcomes have to be achieved by a certain date for employers to qualify for the result element?

No, provided that the apprentice is retained until successful completion, as per AppsNI & HLA Operating Requirements, of their apprenticeship the employer will be eligible irrespective of date.

Do the interventions also apply to Higher Level Apprenticeships?

Yes, the scheme is open to all employers who have an apprentice participating on a DfE funded AppsNI or HLA programme who was furloughed as part of the UK Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Is there a maximum amount that employers can claim?

No, however, payments are considered to be State Aid under EU Regulations and therefore there may be some additional requirements if payments are substantial, or if companies are in receipt of other payments considered to be State Aid.

If an apprentice is returned from furlough but is then placed on further periods of furlough or flexi-furlough, can employers still apply for support?

Yes. For the Return element of the scheme, any further periods of furlough or flexi furlough will extend the qualifying date e.g. if apprentice returns on 12 April, the return month would normally be 12 April – 11 May. However if there was a total of 4 days of furlough or flexi furlough during this period, the Return period is extended by 4 days.

For the Retain element of the scheme, payments will be calculated on a pro-rata basis to account for any periods of furlough or flexi-furlough. Please provide all relevant furlough dates when submitting your application.

Are payments under this incentive scheme taxable?

HM Revenue & Customs have stated that payments received by a business under this scheme must be included as income in the business’s calculation of its taxable profits.