Apprenticeship grant for employers of 16 to 24 year olds

What is the Greater Manchester apprenticeship grant (GM AGE) for employers?

The GM AGE for 16 to 24 year olds supports Greater Manchester businesses to recruit individuals aged 16 to 24 into employment through the apprenticeship programme that would otherwise not be in a position to do so.

GM AGE is a grant of £1,500 for employers who recruit an apprentice where you haven't employed an apprentice in the previous 12 months. It replaces the national AGE offer within Greater Manchester. Employers can apply for additional incentives, each of which is worth £1,000, if their apprentice is an existing trainee progressing from a completed traineeship to apprenticeship within a four week period or an advanced or higher apprenticeship. If criteria are met for both of the additional incentives, then you may be eligible for a total grant up of £3,500.

GM AGE is only available to employers with an apprentice in a Greater Manchester workplace as the model is part of the government's devolution deal.

How does GM AGE differ from the national AGE offer?

Outside of Greater Manchester, the current national AGE programme began in January 2015, focusing on small businesses (those with fewer than 50 employees). GM AGE is available to employers that employ 0 to 249 employees, not just those employing 0 to 49 employees. In Greater Manchester, employers will be able to draw down a maximum of three grants of £1,500; although this differs from the national grant where employers may draw down five grants, it offers additional incentives as described above that are not available through the national offer, and for some employers the grant could be a maximum of £3,500. In addition nationally, there is no incentive for traineeship progression or for the Trailblazer Apprenticeship standards.

Who is eligible for GM AGE?

To be eligible you must:

  • provide a place of work for an apprentice within the Greater Manchester boundary (local authority areas)
  • have fewer than 250 employees in the United Kingdom, as recorded by the Employer Data Service (EDS)
  • not have employed an apprentice in the 12 month period before the start date of the first apprentice for whom you apply for the grant
  • commit to employ your apprentice(s) for a minimum of 12 months on the apprenticeship programme or the time it takes them to complete their apprenticeship, whichever is the greater
  • confirm you are aware of and do not breach any State Aid rules by receiving the grant
  • agree to pay the apprentice in line with legal minimum requirements or more

If you are eligible, you can claim up to three grants during the time the grant is available. Please note you do not have to wait 12 months between the first and any subsequent applications. Only one grant will be paid per employer for any particular individual. You should contact any training organisations you have been working with recently to check whether they have accessed apprenticeship programme funding for learning they have provided to you. We would strongly urge you to do this if any of your employees have undertaken work-based learning such as national vocational qualifications (NVQ) or diplomas.


The apprentice must be in learning for a minimum of 13 weeks before the payment process is triggered, as defined by the Skills Funding Agency's programme funding rules and recorded on the individual learning record submitted by your training organisation.

The combined authority will transfer GM AGE funds to your training organisation. It may take up to nine weeks after the 13 week qualification point for the funds to be processed and transferred. Your training organisation must make arrangements to pay the funds to you within 14 days of receipt. In total, the maximum period for payment to be made to you the employer is around 26 weeks from the apprentice's start date. Payment is in the form of a grant and is therefore exempt from VAT. If your apprentice leaves or is dismissed before completing 13 weeks 'in-learning' as defined above you will not receive payment for the Grant, even if they completed 13 weeks in employment. If your apprentice leaves or is dismissed after completing 13 weeks 'in-learning', your entitlement to the grant remains. However, as defined in the GM AGE employer agreement, you are expected to provide ongoing employment to your apprentice(s) for the period of their apprenticeship, subject to satisfactory performance as an employee.

How can employers apply?

Greater Manchester employers apply for and claim GM AGE through their training provider. Training providers will work with employers to confirm eligibility for the grant. Only those training providers that have opted into delivering GM AGE and signed a grant agreement can claim the grant on behalf of employers. Training providers who have not opted in can do so at any stage through New Economy. You must complete and sign GM AGE employer agreement with your chosen training organisation(s), to confirm your eligibility, before your apprentice(s) starts. You must provide an indication of how many apprentices you plan to recruit, with the support of the grant with that particular training organisation; this can be updated.

More information

Please read the downloadable GM AGE employer fact sheet for further information or alternatively talk to your training provider. If you are not linked to a training provider, please visit the government's apprenticeships website to find out more about apprenticeships or call the National Apprenticeship Service on 08000 150 600 to speak to an adviser.

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