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A research study assessing the impact of the Employer Incentive Scheme on supporting businesses to create apprenticeships for 16 to 19 year olds.

The Apprenticeships Employer Incentive Scheme (EIS) aimed to support employers from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in recruiting 16 to 19 year olds apprentices.

The EIS was delivered by a network of providers across Wales. Participating employers received an incentive payment from their provider eight months after recruiting an apprentice, which was funded by Welsh Government.

The findings from the study relate to five themes.

Employer and provider perceptions of the EIS

The grant was generally well-received by employers. Many felt that the Welsh Government was ‘giving something back’ to SMEs. The grant was often perceived as just one benefit of the EIS. Many employers also really valued the relationship gained with the provider.

The view of most providers was that the apprenticeship landscape in Wales was fairly buoyant at the time the scheme was introduced. Therefore, many felt the funds could have been better used elsewhere, such as supporting the development needs of existing apprentices.

Information about the EIS

Overall, employers were satisfied with the quality and availability of information prior to applying for the scheme.

Providers were generally positive about the quality and clarity of information about the scheme that they received from the Welsh Government.

Some providers were hesitant to actively promote the scheme in case it attracted employers only interested in the financial incentive. In these instances, providers shared information about the EIS with employers who had already showed an interest in recruiting an apprentice.

Application process and payment

Employers were generally satisfied with both the application and payment processes.

Some providers felt that the time and cost of administering the scheme was significant. This tended to be those with a large number of employers engaged in the scheme.

View of structural elements of the EIS

Most employers thought that the payment amount (£2,500 as standard or £3,500 if the apprentice starts from July-September or January-March) was appropriate.

However, there was little support for the two-tiered approach. Both employers and providers believed it had not been significant in incentivising recruitment at particular times of the year.

Providers and employers generally supported waiting eight-months after recruitment to release the incentive payment. They felt it ensured the scheme was not taken advantage of by employers.

Impact and satisfaction

The scheme was successful in attracting employers new to apprenticeships. Many employers who participated would not have taken on an apprentice without EIS support.

The majority of employers were positive about their involvement in the scheme. Most would be likely to take on apprentices in the future.

Many apprentices were given the opportunity for permanent employment as a result of their employers partaking in the EIS.


Research study: Apprenticeship Employer Incentive Scheme , file type: PDF, file size: 992 KB

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Hannah Smith

Telephone: 0300 062 2038

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Telephone: 0300 025 8099

Rydym yn croesawu galwadau yn Gymraeg / We welcome calls in Welsh.