More help to keep and employ apprentices

Employers now have more options to help keep and bring on apprentices with the Apprenticeship Support Programme.

The Apprenticeship Support Programme is a cross-agency government response to help employers deal with the effects of COVID-19 and continue to invest in training and developing new talent. Employers and businesses can access support from a number of programmes including Apprenticeship Boost, Mana in Mahi, or the Regional Apprenticeships Initiative. The Group Training Schemes, which some employers are part of, will also receive additional support.

Programmes include:

  • the new Apprenticeship Boost, which will help employers pay for new and existing apprentices in their first two years of training
  • an expansion to MSD's Mana in Mahi programme to help people into long-term work and gain a formal industry training qualification
  • support for seven existing Group Training Schemes to help them continue to employ around 1,700 apprentices and trainees
  • the new Regional Apprenticeships Initiative, funded through the Provincial Growth Fund, which will support employers in the regions to take on new apprentices.

The Accord's People Development workstream leads Graham Burke and Bill Newson welcome the additional support for employers.

"We are really pleased with this support package – it’s a great way to ensure that apprentices are kept in work, up-skilled and that employers are more likely to take them on," says Graham.

"Skills shortages have been a long-standing issue in the sector, and now in the COVID-19 environment there is even more importance to make sure our apprentices can keep training and that employers have the support they need."

The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO), an Accord partner, also welcomes the package and the removal of barriers towards training.

"We have been asking for support for years, particularly during a recession when training gets whacked. We now have that support, and it is up to the construction sector to do the right thing, step up to the plate and respond in kind," says BCITO Chief Executive Warwick Quinn.

"We will only get one opportunity and we cannot afford to blow it. We know plenty of work is the best medicine for firms and apprentices, but when it is thin on the ground, we hope that we can increase the number of firms training in our sector. If we do, then we have a model that will work next time."

The support programmes require apprentices and trainees to progress through their training – it is not a quasi-wage subsidy extension.

More information about the Apprenticeship Support Programme(external link) -

More information about employment, education and training support(external link) -

Last updated: 12 August 2020