BUSINESSES recruiting full time disabled apprentices over the next year can expect to receive an additional incentive of £2,000, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething has announced today.

The Welsh Government Employer Incentive Scheme for disabled apprentices, which was designed to encourage employers to get first-hand experience of the benefits of recruiting disabled people, is being extended from April 1st 2022 until the end of March 2023, and increased by £500.

The commitment supports the Welsh Government’s new employability plan, Stronger, Fairer, Greener Wales: A Plan for Employability and Skills, published earlier this week, which prioritises supporting those people who are furthest from the labour market.

The existing Apprenticeship Employer Incentive Scheme, which has formed a key part of Welsh Government’s Covid Commitment to support businesses and workers to  recover from the impacts of coronavirus, is also being extended to 31 March, 2022.

The incentive scheme, which has already seen more than 6,100 new apprentices recruited since August 2020, had been due to close on February 28th, 2022.

Under the existing Welsh Government scheme businesses are able to claim up to £4,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25. This is available to businesses that are employing a young apprentice for at least 30 hours per week.

Welsh businesses can also receive £2,000 for each new under 25 year old apprentice they employ for less than 30 hours a week.

For workers aged 25 and over, businesses can access £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire on a 30 hour or more contract, and a £1,000 incentive for apprentices working less than 30 hours.

Employers who recruit a disabled apprentice on or before March 31st 2022 will be able to apply for funding from both the Apprenticeship Employer Incentive Scheme and the current Disabled Employer Incentive Scheme, which is £1,500 per disabled apprentice.

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said:

“In Wales we are committed to doing all we can to help people with disabilities to find and stay in work.

“We are already seeing the positive impact our targeted support is having in improving labour market outcomes for disabled people. I want to see that continue as part of our commitment to changing people’s lives for the better and our one year extension of the disabled apprenticeship incentive will be key to helping us achieve this.

“Helping people overcome barriers to finding and staying in work is central our new Employability Plan unveiled this week. The plan sets out our vision for a fairer and more equal Wales where we work to ensure nobody is left behind or held back.

“Apprenticeships will help us achieve this. They can help futureproof, motivate and diversify a workforce – offering people the chance to gain high-quality vocational skills. They are also crucial to our ambitious post-Covid economic recovery plans. That’s why we have committed to creating a further 125,000 all-age apprenticeship places over the next five years.

“Our wider Apprenticeship Incentive scheme has been highly successful in encouraging businesses to continue recruiting apprentices while we have all managed the challenges of covid and I am pleased we have been able to extend that wider support package for one final month.

“We are a small country but we have big ambitions, and our aim is to create a culture in Wales where recruiting an apprentice becomes the norm for employers.”

The Welsh Government ‘We’re in Your Corner’ campaign encourages firms the length and breadth of Wales to take advantage of recruitment and skills support for new and existing employees available via the Skills Gateway for Business. For more information visit the Business Wales Skills Gateway.

The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund. The Welsh Government continues to urge the UK Government to replace the missing millions Wales is owed in successor EU funds.