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Business: find training and employment schemes

These schemes can help you with staff recruitment and skills development. Some are free, but there may be other costs incurred for training, wages, or travel for example.


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Apprenticeships are available for individuals over the age of 16 and combines on the job training with study. You can offer this opportunity to new or current staff members. 

Apprenticeships are available up to a university degree level and can be completed in a range of sectors. 

Benefits for your business

If you offer an apprenticeship, you can: 

  • introduce fresh talent and ideas to your business by recruiting new staff and upskilling current staff 
  • align training to your business needs 
  • boost staff loyalty and motivation 


You must pay the apprentice minimum wage and you may need to contribute to training costs. 


Apprenticeships can last between 12 months and 5 years and starts when the apprentice signs their apprenticeship agreement.

T Levels: industry placements

T Levels are for learners aged 16 to 19 in England who have finished their GCSEs. T Levels combine classroom learning with an industry placement. 

Host an industry placement and support young people to get ready for the workplace. 

Benefits for your business

If you host an industry placement, you can:

  • build a talent pipeline for junior positions, apprenticeships and internships 
  • give your existing staff the opportunity to gain management and mentoring skills  
  • train a young person with the skills your business needs


This is a free government scheme, but you may have costs depending on the industry placement you host. Some costs may be reimbursed through the employer support fund. 


As part of their course, every T Level student must complete an industry placement that lasts a minimum of 315 hours. You can work with another employer to host industry placements.

Skills Bootcamps

Skills Bootcamps are flexible training courses for adults aged 19 or over, and are available in a range of sectors such as digital, engineering or green skills. They can help you upskill your existing workforce or recruit new talent.   

Skills Bootcamps are developed and delivered in partnership with your business and can be offered full or part-time. 

Benefits for your business

Skills Bootcamps can help you to: 

  • quickly recruit and upskill staff with the right training and skills   
  • reduce costs associated with traditional recruitment processes    
  • boost productivity with motivated learners who can bring in fresh ideas and perspectives


You can recruit Skills Bootcamps graduates at no cost to your business. If you are training your current employees, you will need to make a training cost contribution of 10% or 30%, depending on your business size.


Skills Bootcamps can last up to 16 weeks.


Multiply is a free maths course for your employees who are aged 19 and over and is delivered by local Multiply providers.

Benefits for your business

Multiply courses can: 

  • increase employee confidence with numbers and encourage them to use their numeracy skills at work
  • reduce numeracy related mistakes at work, boost productivity, increase profits and improve employee retention  
  • motivate employees to pursue different forms of training that may benefit the business in the future


Multiply is a free government scheme.


Courses range from hourly sessions to full certification programs. They can be delivered flexibly in person, online, in the workplace, in the evening, part time or intensively. 

Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs)

Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) are high-quality and job focused level 4 and level 5 qualifications, such as Foundation Degrees, Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas.  

HTQs have been independently tested against standards developed by employers. To become an HTQ and display the HTQ quality mark, qualifications must be approved against these standards. 

Benefits for your business

You can offer a HTQ to your existing employees or hire skilled individuals that already have HTQs.  

This can: 

  • support your employees to retrain, improve their existing skills and learn new skills  
  • create an environment that promotes learning and development  
  • make your business more competitive and address skills shortages 


HTQs are eligible for the same student finance offer as a degree, but you can choose to pay for HTQs for your current employees. 


HTQs offer flexibility as they can range from 1 to 2 years full-time study, with part-time and distance learning options also available. 

Most HTQs do not require a work placement except when this is mandated by the professional and statutory regulatory requirements.

Free courses and additional free training

Upskill your current employees with free courses or training.
There are a range of free courses available, including:

  • essential digital skills, up to and including level 1 
  • English and/or maths, up to and including level 2 
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), up to, and including level 2 
  • level 3 courses for jobs, ranging from engineering to health and social care

Benefits for your business

By offering your staff free courses or additional free training, you can:

  • promote learning culture and upskill your employees in their current role or support them to progress into higher skilled roles  
  • improve numeracy, language and digital skills in the workplace  
  • increase productivity and workforce development  


Essential digital skills (up to and including level 1) and English and/or maths (up to and including level 2) is fully government funded and there is no cost for you. 

ESOL or Level 3 courses can be fully or co-funded by the provider or the learner.  

There is no expectation for you to pay towards ESOL or Level 3 courses qualifications for your employees. However, you can voluntarily choose to pay towards them.


The duration can vary depending on the course subject, level or type. 

Care Leaver Covenant

The Care Leaver Covenant is a voluntary scheme that supports care leavers aged 16 to 25, who left care after their 16th birthday. You can pledge your support for the covenant and offer care leavers:

  • paid employment, such as apprenticeships or internships  
  • mentorships, taster sessions or interview support  
  • discounted or free goods and services

Benefits for your business

If you offer support to care leavers, you can:

  • access a talent pool of young people who can help grow your business and fill skill gaps   
  • contribute to your company’s social responsibility and diversity and inclusion activity   
  • work with care leavers who are building independence, resilience and adaptability  


You may have costs based on what you offer and your organisation size.


The duration will depend on what you offer.   

Supported internships for learners with an education, health and care plan

Supported internships combine studying with a work placement. They are available for young people, aged 16 to 24, with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), who have an an education, health and care (EHC) plan. 

Host placements in your workplace and support young people with SEND.  

Benefits for your business

If you host a work placement, you can: 

  • shape a job role for the needs of your business and the supported intern 
  • save on recruitment costs and improve recruitment prospects if you hire the intern at the end of the programme 
  • increase your confidence of employing individuals with additional needs and diversify your workforce


A supported internship is a free government scheme, but you may have your own business costs, for example time spent training. 

You can choose to pay the intern or cover their expenses, but this is not a requirement.


 A work placement can range from 6 to 12 months. 

Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP)

A sector-based work academy programme (SWAP) offers jobseekers the opportunity to train and work with your business. You can offer a SWAP to individuals 16 and over who are claiming benefits. 

The programme includes pre-employment training, a short work placement, and a job interview or help with the application process.

Benefits for your business

If you offer a SWAP, you can:

  • recruit staff with the right skills  
  • meet immediate and future recruitment needs  
  • access a large pool of candidates  


This programme is free, but you may have business costs, such as time spent training. 


A SWAP can last up to 6 weeks.

Employing prisoners and prison leavers

Work with New Futures Network and provide job opportunities to serving prisoners and prison leavers aged 18 and over.

Benefits for your business

If you work with New Futures Network, you can: 

  • help fill vacancies and address skill shortages  
  • access a motivated and diverse talent pool with individuals that have a range of life experiences 
  • have a positive social impact 


You do not have to pay to work with New Futures Network. If you offer employment, you must pay at least the national minimum wage. You may have your own business costs, such as time spent training.


Recruitment timescales depend on a variety of factors, such as getting right to work documentation. New Futures Network will work with you to consider your needs.

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