Apprenticeship Employer Grant

Whether it’s hiring someone new or developing an existing employee, apprenticeships can help provide the skills your business needs. 

The Apprentice Employer Grant (AEG) is available to help you to recruit new Modern or Graduate Apprentices within your business or upskilling existing employees. 

  • £5,000 for employers taking on or upskilling a 16 to 24-year through a Modern or Graduate Apprenticeship, and for those aged up to 29 years who have a disability, are care experienced or are from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background.    
  • £3,500 for employers taking on or upskilling an individual aged 25 and over through a Modern or Graduate Apprenticeship.  
  • If applications are for upskilling existing employees, the grant specifically supports those who have changed job roles within the last four months.


Funding will be available for eligible employers where the apprenticeship start date was on or after 1st December 2020. Funding will be available for starts until 25th March 2021 or until funding levels are exceeded, whichever comes first.


AEG Application Form

The AEG application form should only be completed by providers on behalf of employers. Read the AEG Rules for more information.

View form

Information for Learning Providers

For more information on delivering AEG see our dedicated Learning Provider page.

Frequently Asked Questions

We've pulled together some of the most common questions employers have asked about the AEG. 

What is the Apprentice Employer Grant and how do I access it?

The Apprentice Employer Grant (AEG) is a £15m fund to help you recruit new apprentices as well as upskill existing employees who have moved into a new role and where the apprenticeship provides the means of upskilling for the new role.  

The Scottish Government recognises the severe impact of the economic decline caused by COVID-19 on individuals and the consequences this has had on unemployment and employment opportunities.

The AEG is a one-off payment of £5,000 to recruit new apprentices or upskill existing employees who are aged 16-24, those aged up to 29 who are disabled, care experienced or from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background. There is also a one-off payment of £3,500 available for those aged 25 and over. 

You must engage with a provider that is contracted by SDS to deliver Graduate and Modern Apprenticeship frameworks. The provider will administer the grant directly to you. 

If you have not engaged with any SDS services or providers help and support is available from

How do I make a claim for payment?

The provider should make the claim on your behalf.

The provider must be satisfied that both you and the apprentice have met the all the eligibility criteria and requirements set out in the Conditions and Specifications documents and the Apprenticeship Employer Grant Rules.

The provider must register each applicant as an apprentice on the Funding Information and Processing System (FIPS) and complete the AEG application form with the required information and signatures and the apprentice declaration as detailed in Appendix 1 of the AEG Rules

Only a confirmed assignment on FIPS will be authorised for payment of the AEG.

Employers can make up to a maximum of 10 AEG applications (MA and GA combined) per employer. 

Is there a defined time period when the provider must make the AEG payment to me?

The  provider must pay the full amount of the AEG received from SDS to you within 5 days of the payment being made to the provider.  Payments are only made when the apprentice is a confirmed assignment on FIPS. For further information please refer to the AEG Rules.

What is the eligibility criteria for receipt of this grant?

Essential Criteria


  • You must not be receiving other Government funding, such as Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) or Kickstart funding, at the same period of time for the same individual. Access to Work funding is permitted. SDS is working with other agencies to secure data sharing agreements as part of monitoring arrangements for the Grant.

  • The apprentice cannot have started their apprenticeship before 1st December 2020. 

  • For new recruits - the apprentice must have been employed within 4 months of the start date of the apprenticeship.

  • For existing staff - employees must have moved into a new job within the business within 4 months from the date of registration of the apprenticeship and where the apprenticeship provides the means of upskilling for this new job.

  • You should not have made anyone redundant in the 6 months prior to application for the same or similar occupation.

  • During their apprenticeship, the apprentice’s main employment and normal working premises must be in Scotland.

  • The apprenticeship framework must match the job role and be eligible for MA funding (contribution rate) and GA Funding.

Fair Work

  • You must provide the apprentice with a written contract of employment.

  • Employers who employ on precarious or flexible contracts inappropriately are ineligible. For example, zero-hours contracts will not be eligible.

  • You must ensure that the apprentice receives formal training as part of their job

  • Employers who have 250 employees or more, must have appropriate channels for effective voice and employee engagement, such as trade union recognition (evidence requirements to be held on file are provided in the appendix to the guide for providers).

Desirable Criteria:

In addition, the following are desirable requirements of the funding:

  • Action to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace

  • Payment of the real Living Wage

  • Appropriate channels for effective voice and employee engagement, such as trade union recognition

Further information on Fair Work practices, and support for you to promote these, is included in the Appendix 3 of the Rules for Providers which also provides information on actions to ensure a safe and healthy working environment.

As part of our monitoring activity, we will be collecting information from employers on Fair Work Practices relating to both essential and desirable criteria.

For more information on eligibility criteria please read the AEG Rules.

Are all employers eligible?

Any employer in the public and private sector is eligible if all eligibility criteria is met. Providers should only apply for the AEG grant where they have a genuine, reasonable expectation that the apprentice will complete their apprenticeship with the employer. 

What happens if I make an apprentice redundant?

You should let the provider know as soon as possible.

Providers will then inform their nominated Skills Investment Adviser or Development and Delivery Executive at SDS.

SDS will apply reasonable consideration to the circumstances of the redundancy, including the challenges arising from COVID-19, before any decision is taken on any clawback of grant required.  

More information on the process can be found in the GA and MA Specifications documents.

Do I need to pay back the AEG if I go into liquidation?

If you go into liquidation you should let your provider know straight away so that they can inform SDS.

SDS will apply reasonable consideration to the circumstances of the insolvency, including the challenges arising from COVID-19, before any decision is taken on any clawback of the grant. 

What happens if the apprentice decides to leave?

If the apprentice decides to leave the apprenticeship with you or leave the programme, you should inform the provider straight away.

Providers will let SDS know and SDS will consider the details provided and will apply reasonable consideration as to whether any of the grant should be repaid. 

Is there a defined time period when a claim for this grant must be made and will this be back dated?

Claims for the grant must be made before 25 March 2021. Claims for the grant fund will be made through FIPS and will be back dated to 1 December 2020. 

Is there a defined time period that the apprentice must be with the employer?

The apprentice should continue their employment and designated apprenticeship under the same employer for a minimum period of 12 consecutive months or until they successfully complete their designated apprenticeship, whichever is longer. 

The 12-month period starts on the date the apprentice is confirmed on FIPS as having started their apprenticeship with the employer. 

If the apprentice leaves the employer or apprenticeship within the 12 month period without completing the apprenticeship, the grant may need to be repaid to SDS. This is detailed in the AEG Rules (paragraph 4 Recovery of AEG rules) and the Conditions of the GA and MA Programmes.

What evidence do I need to provide?

For existing employees that are now upskilling, you must submit two job descriptions as proof that the job role has changed and that the chosen MA Framework is specific to the new job role. 

The provider will complete all the mandatory documentation for the apprentice as detailed in the MA and GA Specifications for 2020-21 and provide a signed declaration from the apprentice that their information will be shared and used for funding purposes as detailed in the MA and GA Privacy statements

For new starts, the provider will complete the mandatory documentation as outlined in the MA and GA Specifications and also provide a signed declaration from the apprentice that their information will be shared and used for funding purposes as detailed in the MA and GA Privacy statements

For more information on this please refer to the AEG Rules.  


Can you apply for Adopt an Apprentice and Apprenticeship Employer Grant?

No - the employer and provider cannot apply for both. These are two separate grants with different eligibility criteria. 

Get more information about Adopt An Apprentice or read the AAA rules document, 

What happens if the AEG application is not approved, can I appeal this decision?

The decision made by SDS is final and there are no grounds for appeal. 

Can I claim AEG funding and Furlough for the apprentice?

If you are receiving AEG funding from SDS, you cannot claim Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) for these apprentices during the AEG period. The AEG period covers the duration from when the individual is registered on FIPS as a live apprentice and undertakes the apprenticeship.

If you wish to claim Furlough you must repay the AEG to SDS. For more information on this please refer to paragraph 2.2.2 of the AEG Rules.

What support is available during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Visit our dedicated page providing guidance and resources for Training Providers.

We also have support and guidance for businesses.

Or have a look at the FindBusinessSupport website.

SDS strive to deliver excellent services and therefore are keen to know about any concerns you may have. If you are aware of activities that may have an adverse effect on SDS services, please use the Concerns Form to raise your concern.