Basingstoke and Deane Apprenticeship Business Grant Scheme

Apprenticeships are a combination of work and off the job training and are a great way for employers to take on new staff and to upskill or reskill existing staff. As part of our efforts to support economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is utilising part of its remaining Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) to incentivise the creation of new apprenticeships within the borough. Micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) trading within the borough who take on a new apprentice or increase the number of existing staff undertaking apprenticeships could be eligible for a £5,000 grant. Currently, businesses can apply for up to three grants but this will be reviewed should further funding be available. The apprenticeship can be completely new to your business or it can be an opportunity for an existing employee to learn new skills through an apprenticeship.

The grant will be available to cover additional expenditure in recruiting and retaining apprentices who will be essential to supporting businesses with their recovery and growth and is available alongside existing Government incentives. The grant cannot be used to pay the wages of the apprentice.

To check whether you are eligible for a grant, you will need to complete an Expression of Interest before being invited to submit a full application.


Please read before expressing an interest in a grant.

Please do not apply if any of the following applies to you, as you will not be eligible:

  • You have already received grant payments that equal the maximum permitted levels of subsidy. Subsidy levels are explained below
  • Your business is not registered with Companies House
  • You are not trading within the borough of Basingstoke and Deane
  • You only started trading in the borough after 1 November 2021
  • You are not classified as a micro business or SME. Micro businesses and SMEs employ fewer than 250 full-time equivalent persons and have an annual turnover not exceeding 50 million euro and/ or have an annual balance sheet total not exceeding 43 million euro.
  • You pay the apprenticeship levy

Eligible expenditure

The grant can only be used to cover the costs associated with recruiting and retaining an apprentice. It will be in addition to the current available government grant initiatives linked to the recruitment of apprentices.

Further eligibility criteria are contained within the FAQ page.


Businesses are required to read the FAQs and complete an online Expression of Interest form if they feel their business may be eligible. Businesses would need to state how recruiting an apprentice or upskilling an existing member of staff will support their recovery or growth plans following the impact of COVID-19 and should set out a case as to why the specific role will help them at the current time.

The apprenticeship can be at any level and within any discipline. If you need any help understanding how an apprenticeship can help your business, we can refer you to the Enterprise M3 Apprenticeship and Skills Hub who can provide independent advice on your training needs.

How do I express an interest?

  • Complete the online Expression of Interest form
  • Expression of Interest forms will be reviewed in order of receipt.
  • A grant application pack will be sent to businesses who pass the initial eligibility checklist.
  • Businesses will then be required to complete and return their grant application pack which will be assessed by the Economic Development team. You will then be informed whether you have been successful or not for the grant. If unsuccessful, you will be provided with the reasons why. An unsuccessful application does not stop you from applying again.

Grants will be awarded on a first come first served basis provided eligibility is met and requested evidence is provided. Applications will be assessed in order of time and date received and all applications must be received by Friday 18 March 2022.

We anticipate a large number of applications to be submitted, therefore it may be some time before you hear the outcome of your application.

Expression of Interest form

Frequently asked questions

What is an apprenticeship grant?

The Apprenticeship grant is a grant of £5,000 per apprentice to support SME businesses with the cost of recruiting and retaining an apprentice. Each business can apply for up to three grants.

What are apprenticeships all about?

Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study. Apprentices are employees of your business enabling them to earn a wage whilst undertaking training and study for at least 20% of their normal working hours. Apprenticeships are for anyone aged 16 or over and can last between 1 and 5 years depending on their level. All apprenticeships have equivalent educational levels as below:


Level 2 - Equivalent educational level - GCSE


Level 3 - Equivalent educational level - A Level


Level 4,5,6 and 7 - Equivalent educational level - Foundation degree and above


Level 6 and 7 - Equivalent educational level - Bachelor's or master's degree

There are many misconceptions about apprenticeships but help is on hand to aid your understanding. The Enterprise M3 Apprenticeship and Skills Hub offers free and impartial advice to organisations of any size regarding apprenticeship training. They can help organisations across Hampshire and Surrey with finding the most suitable training provider or choosing the relevant apprenticeship for them. They also offer guidance on funding apprenticeship training, levy transfers and sourcing apprentices.

What funds are available?

Grants of £5,000 are available to micro businesses and SMEs that are non-apprenticeship levy paying employers, to contribute to the cost of recruiting and retaining an apprentice. Each business is only entitled to one grant per apprentice, with a maximum of three grants for the organisation as a whole. The apprenticeship must be explicitly there to support the business in its work to recover from COVID-19 restrictions and/or to aid business growth.

This grant will be paid in addition to any government apprenticeship recruitment grants currently available.

What is an SME?

For the purpose of this grant, Small to Medium Sized Enterprises are businesses which employ fewer than 250 full-time equivalent persons.

Who is eligible?
  • Your business must be trading within the borough of Basingstoke and Deane
  • You cannot have already received grant payments that equal the maximum permitted levels of subsidy
  • Your business must be registered with Companies House and not be a sole-trader, as you need to be eligible for government funding to pay for the apprenticeship training
  • You must have been trading in the borough before 1 November 2021
What can the money be used for?

It can be used to cover any costs associated with recruiting and retaining an apprentice, such as training costs, and can be used alongside the current available government grant schemes. The only requirement is for you to illustrate how recruiting an apprentice will support your recovery or growth following the impact of COVID-19.

Do you have to pay the apprentice wages?

Yes and this must be at least the appropriate rate for the age of the apprentice. However, you cannot use this grant to pay wage costs. More information on pay rates for apprentices can be found on the GOV.UK website Employing an apprentice.

Do you have to pay for apprenticeship training costs?

For non-apprenticeship levy paying employers the Government pays 95% of the cost of the training and for under 19s training is free. With this grant and the available Government incentives it could mean that apprentices cost very little for an employer. There are also opportunities for SMEs to use the ‘Transfer to Transform’ scheme to get financial support from bigger businesses who have unspent apprenticeship levy. The Skills Hub can help match you with a business willing to share its funding.

How much grant can I claim?

Grant funding is £5,000 per apprentice and there is currently a limit of three grants per business.

Grants will be paid in two instalments – one once evidence is received from the training provider that the apprentice has started and the second by 31 March 2022, as long as there is evidence of the apprentice continuing their studies.

Do I have to pay back the grant if the apprentice leaves early?

No but you must inform us that the apprentice has left your employment early and any remaining payments due will be stopped. We will do regular checks with your training provider to ensure the employment is continuing.

If we find out that the apprentice has left your employment early and you have not informed us, it will be within our rights to recover the funding.

How do I prove that I have taken on an apprentice and am eligible for the grant?

We will require evidence from the approved training provider you have selected that the apprentice has started on the chosen course. During the application process, we might also ask for a number of other elements of evidence, including, but not limited to:

  • Companies House Number
  • Evidence of business insurance covering the premises you are trading from
  • Evidence that the bank account belongs to the business
  • Evidence that the funds have been used in the correct way
How will we prevent fraud?

We will utilise a range of data sources available to us as a local authority to check that you are a legitimate business, that you meet the eligibility criteria and that you are genuinely taking on an apprentice. Action will be taken where false or misleading information is given or where fraudulent activity is established to have taken place.

What do you mean by ‘permitted levels of subsidy’?

The EU State aid rules no longer apply to subsidies granted in the UK following the end of the transition period, which ended on 31 December 2020. The COVID-19 business grants subsidy allowance replaces State Aid allowances for the purposes of these grants.

There are three levels of subsidy allowances for businesses who receive COVID-19 financial support. These are: the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance, the COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance and the COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance. These are applied on the basis of the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA).

Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance

Grants may be paid in accordance with Article 3.2(4) of the TCA, which enables an applicant to receive up to a maximum level of subsidy without engaging Chapter 3 of the TCA. This allowance is 325,000 Special Drawing Rights, to a single economic actor over any period of three fiscal years, which is the equivalent of £335,000 as at 2 March 20211. An applicant may elect not to receive grants under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and instead receive grants only using the below allowances available under this scheme.

COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance

Where the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance has been reached, grants may be paid in compliance with the Principles set out in Article 3.4 of the TCA and in compliance with Article 3.2(3) of the TCA under the COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance (subsidies granted on a temporary basis to respond to a national or global economic emergency). For the purposes of these scheme rules, this allowance is £1,600,000 per single economic actor. This allowance includes any grants previously received under the COVID-19 business grant schemes and any State aid previously received under Section 3.1 of the European Commission’s Temporary Framework across any other UK scheme. This may be combined with the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance to equal £1,935,000 (subject to the exact amount applicable under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance using the Special Drawing Right calculator)

COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance

Where an applicant has reached its limit under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance, it may be able to access a further allowance under these scheme rules of up to £9,000,000 provided a certain set of conditions are met. The conditions are listed in the government's Additional Restrictions Grant document from paragraph 86 – 90.

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