Finances and funding for Apprenticeships

An incentive payment will be available for employers whose employees successfully complete the Level 2 and Level 3 Apprenticeship programmes.

How much does training cost?

For those apprentices aged under 25 years, the full costs of the 'off-the-job' training for the duration of the apprenticeship will be paid.

50 per cent of funding will be paid in respect of those aged 25 years and over for the duration of their apprenticeship in the following areas only:

  • creative industries
  • life and health sciences
  • advanced engineering
  • advanced manufacturing
  • food and drink manufacturing
  • financial services
  • business services (specifically ICT)

Apprenticeships 25+ Frameworks on the nidirect website.

Higher level Apprenticeships

The Department for the Economy (DfE) will pay training supplier costs for the 'off-the-job' training, however the employer should pay the apprentice for the contracted hours including the day that they are training.

Is an employer incentive available?

An employer incentive will be available for employers whose apprentice(s) successfully complete the Apprenticeships programme. This incentive ranges from £250 to £1,500, depending on the complexity and level of the apprenticeship undertaken. You will receive the payment upon the successful completion of each apprenticeship.

Higher Level Apprenticeship pilots do not currently offer a financial incentive for employers, however the other non-financial incentives for employing an apprentice apply.

What do I pay the apprentice?

Your apprentice will earn a wage agreed between yourself and them. It is important to remember that the National Minimum Wage Regulations apply and that there are specific rates for different age groups.

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is a minimum amount that workers in the UK are entitled to be paid. NMW rates are reviewed each year.

National Minimum Wage - hourly rates from 1 April 2017

  • £7.50 - the National Living Wage for workers 25 years old and over
  • £7.05 - the main rate for workers aged 21 to 24 years old
  • £5.60 - the 18 to 20 rate
  • £4.05 - the 16 to 17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18
  • £3.50 - the apprentice rate, for apprentices under 19 or 19 and over and in the first year of their apprenticeship (this rate does not apply to Higher Level Apprenticeships)

Read our guidance on the national minimum wage.

More useful links

The list of ApprenticeshipsNI training suppliers has been updated – Apprenticeship training contractors.