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Government funding while you work

One way to make sure you have a steady income while you study is to carry out work-based learning. At the very least you will get a training allowance, and very often you’ll get a full wage at the current rate for the job you’re doing. Work-based learning includes the following.

Apprenticeship Grant for Employers of 16 to 24 year olds (AGE 16 to 24)

Age 16 to 24 has already helped thousands of employers to grow their business by employing an apprentice. Age 16 to 24 is available until 31 December 2014, subject to eligibility and availability. Could it help you too?

The age 16 to 24 Grant for Employers aims to support businesses, who would not otherwise be in a position to do so, to recruit individuals aged 16 to 24 into employment through the Apprenticeship program.

The National Apprenticeship Service will provide Age 16 to 24 to eligible employers, in respect of qualifying apprentices, with an individual value of £1,500. Employers can be paid ten grants in total during the lifetime of the initiative.

Age 16 to 24 targets employers with less than 1000 employees, who are new to Apprenticeships or haven’t enrolled a new recruit or existing employee onto an Apprenticeship program in the previous 12 months.

Apprenticeship Funding for Scotland £7.500

Apprenticeship Funding for England £17.000

Modern Apprenticeships offer people aged 16 and over paid employment while training for jobs at craft, technician and management level. All apprentices in Scotland are employed for the duration of their training.

A Modern Apprenticeship (MA) is a vocational training award. It is not a qualification in itself, but each MA framework contains separately assessed elements around knowledge-based, competence-based, and core skills. Most MA Frameworks are underpinned by Scottish or National Vocational Qualifications (S/NVQs), which are built on National Occupational Standards (NOS).

To complete their MA, candidates must achieve an S/NVQ (or appropriate accredited vocational qualification) at level 2 or above and all 5 core skills

– IT, Problem Solving, Numeracy, Communication and Working with Others.

The current focus for public funding for Modern Apprenticeships is to support young people entering the workforce from school. Targeted support is available for adults to reflect and support the Scottish Government’s economic policy.

Flexible Training Opportunities (FTOs) are the Scottish Government’s primary intervention for co-investing in workforce development.  Scottish businesses with up to 100 employees can apply for up to £5,000 towards the costs of training.  The funding available is 50% of the training cost up to a maximum of £500 per employee training session with up to 10 sessions per company.

Enhancing employees’ skills can bring real benefits to the business including improved productivity and a stronger more confident workforce.

From 1 April 2013, the Employability Fund brings together existing Scottish Government investment in pre-employment training.  This will move away from the funding of specific programs of learning, such as Get Ready for Work and Training for Work, towards provision better tailored to the needs of participants and local labour markets.

Whilst the majority of support through the Employability Fund will be focused on young people, the Scottish Government also recognises the need to have provision targeted at meeting the needs of adults who have been unemployed up to 12 months towards and into work.  The fund is expected to deliver 17,150 individual training opportunities contracted by Skills Development Scotland in 2013-14. Young people aged 16-18 participating on the Employability Fund will receive a training allowance of £55 per week.  Unemployed adults aged 18+ will receive a training equivalent to what they would otherwise receive in DWP Benefits.

‘Get Britain Working’ refers to the package of back to work support being offered by the UK Government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

There are three main aspects to this:

Personalised advice and support from Jobcentre Plus;

The Get Britain Working measures: a menu of flexible support options that will supplement the advice and support provided by Jobcentre Plus; and

The Work Program , delivered by contracted providers (in Scotland, Ingeus and Working Links) and focused on longer term unemployed people and those customers needing more intensive support.

The Get Britain Working measures are as follows:

  • More sharing of skills and experience through Work Clubs and Enterprise Clubs;
  • Volunteering as a way of developing work skills through Work Together;
  • Pre-employment training and work placements through sector-based work academies;
  • Greater insight into the world of work through Work Experience; and
  • Self-employment as a route off benefits through the New Enterprise Allowance.

Through the Youth Contract, launched in April 2012, additional support is being provided to help young people aged 18-24 into work.  Measures relevant to Scotland are as follows:

  • Additional personal adviser time with young people who have been unemployed for 3 months
  • Additional work experience opportunities and places on sector-based work academies.
  • A wage subsidy of up to £2,275 to employers recruiting young people from the Work programs, Work Choice or Jobcentre Plus.
In addition to the support offered by DWP under “Get Britain Working” the following range of support services is offered by Jobcentre Plus to people with Health Conditions and Disabilities:

Disability Employment Adviser (DEA)– Specialist Advisers who assist people with Health Conditions and Disabilities gain and retain employment.  The DEA will agree an Action Plan with individuals, detailing the steps to be taken back into employment and the appropriate support route.  They will advise on the specialist programs available to people with Health Conditions and Disabilities such as “Access to Work” and “Work Choice”.

Access to Work – Assists people, over 16 who are in paid employment, have a job to start or an interview for a job, by providing practical support to overcome work related obstacles from disability.  There is an employer cost share involved in some cases.

Work Choice – A voluntary employment programs that provides support to disabled people facing complex barriers to getting and keeping a job and other available DWP Provision is not appropriate.  The DEA will advise on eligibility and appropriateness of this programs for individuals.

SDS Individual Learning Account (ILA) funding is targeted at low paid, low skilled and unemployed individuals who are not already engaged in Scottish Government funded learning or training.  Eligible individuals can access up to £200 each year to fund a wide range of courses which may help them move towards and into work or to progress within existing employment.
PCDLs are bank loans to help cover a wide range of vocational training (the skills needed for an occupation, trade or profession) or education for adults. The Government supports these loans by paying the interest on the loan while you carry out your training.

From September 2009 a number of changes were introduced to make PCDLs more flexible. The maximum loan rose to £10,000 and the level of loan finance is now 100% of course fees for those who are unemployed. For all other applicants the maximum is 80%.

You can now borrow between £300 and £10,000 to help you pay for any course that will help you in your career. In general, you can’t use a PCDL to pay for anything that is being funded by another source. So, if you receive a grant or student loan, you are not eligible to apply for a PCDL.

If you have been made redundant, you can get support through the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE).  PACE is the Scottish Government’s partnership initiative which provides support to employers and employees when an organisation is facing redundancy issues.

The initiative which was established by the Scottish Government and is delivered by Skills Development Scotland with Job Centre Plus and other national and local partner’s offers a service to help individuals and businesses to minimise the time people affected by redundancy are out of work through providing skills development and employability support.

The support available is tailored to meet individual needs and includes: Job Centre Plus services; one to one counselling; comprehensive information packs; access to high-quality training; seminars on skills such as CV writing and starting up a business; and access to IT facilities.

Who we are

The Skills Funding Agency is a partner organisation of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).  Our job is to fund and promote adult further education (FE) and skills training in England, including Traineeships and Apprenticeships, in a way that supports economic growth.

What we do

We deliver £4.1 billion of skills training through contracts with over 1,000 colleges, private training organisations and employers. Our highly effective supply chain that means FE meets local need in the most cost-effective way, reaching into every sector of the economy. We are also a co-financing body for European Social Fund. Within the Skills Funding Agency, there are two customer-facing services: the National Apprenticeship Service, is responsible for increasing the number of Traineeship and Apprenticeship opportunities. The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) operates an online system where employers of all sizes can advertise their vacancies and learners can apply.

The National Careers Service, provides impartial careers information, advice and guidance online, by telephone or face-to-face, inspiring people to realise their potential and get the skills they need to succeed in life and work. The Skills Funding Agency also hosts the Information Authority, an independent body that acts on behalf of organisations involved in further education and training in England, setting data standards and governing data collection.


We provide a single interface with colleges and training organisations and employers on:

  • Contracting for publicly funded skills and training for post 19 learners
  • Contracting and delivery for Apprenticeships across the age range

The Agency also has a central role in supporting the development and delivery of Traineeships.  These will provide essential support for these young people not currently in education, employment and training.

We operate and develop the National Careers Service which provides access to impartial, professional advice on careers, skills and training.

Supporting the successful introduction of 24+ Advanced Learning Loan is also important and will enable adult learners to continually improve and update their skills. The Agency uses the European Social Fund to provide additional investment to support and enhance its mainstream activity, to enable disadvantaged people to access and benefit from employment and skills opportunities.

The Offenders’ Learning and Skills Service is a service managed by the Agency, designed to integrate offender education with mainstream academic

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