Sharon Lillywhite

SME Co Investment announcement 18.03.24



With todays announcement regarding the scrapping of the co investment for people under 22, has anyone seen if this means the incentive payments of £1000 will be extended from 16-18 to 16-21 also?

I have a cohort of 300 starting 22nd April so a lot of changes need to now take place quite quickly.

thanks in advance.


No one has replied to this post.

Paul Taylor

There is nothing in the announcement that I can see which suggests the incentive payments are being extended. They are not making any additional funding available as far as I can see, rather scrapping the co-investment requirement for that age group, with the 'additional' funds coming out of the existing levy pot.

Sharon Lillywhite

thank you Paul, this is the feedback i am receiving from Linkedin as well. Thank you for responding.

Aaron Macadam

Is there info about any limitations on who this applies too with regards to the employer size? Currently 16-18 year old candidates working at employers with less than 50 employees would be exempt from the co-investment. With this change, would the exemption for up to 21 year olds only be for employers with less than 50 employees? Or is the change now just essentially any non levy employer with a candidate less than 21 years old will be exempt? Cheers


Zoe Penny

Just what I was going to ask Aaron Macadam 

Ben James

Best to wait for official confirmation, but the wording of the announcement suggests the same rules will apply with regard to the waiver being for employers with fewer than 50 employees in the last 365 days

The Government will fully fund apprenticeships in small businesses from 1st April by paying the full cost of training for anyone up to the age of 21 - reducing costs and burdens for businesses and delivering more opportunities for young people to kick start their careers.

Ian Barrett

I agree about waiting for official confirmation but I've asked AELP the same question and their understanding, from conversation with the DfE, is that it will apply to all non-levy employers.

Ben James

Would certainly be welcome if true, if not slightly inconsistent with the whole theme of the announcement, which seemed to be almost entirely about helping small employers.. though this government saying and meaning 2 completely different things is, well, not exactly uncharacteristic

Tracy Clement


Aaron Macadam

Thanks all, yeah hopefully it is all Non Levy, not looking forward to the extra admin with the less than 50 employees checks for the increased age range if it does go down that path... we'll see.

Jade Wilson

Hi all. Has there been any official ESFA announcement on this yet? Just want to make sure I haven't missed anything before we update our forms. Thank you. 

Ben James

Guess we're going to find out tomorrow Jade Wilson..

Information: Apprenticeship funding rules 2023 to 2024 version 3

On Thursday 28 March 2024, we will publish Version 3 of the apprenticeship funding rules for 2023 to 2024. These updated rules reflect the recent apprenticeship announcements made by the Prime Minister:

  • the removal of co-investment, for new starts from 1 April 2024, for non-levy paying employers taking on apprentices aged 16 to 21
  • raising to 50%, from April, the proportion of their levy funds that employers can transfer to other businesses

In respect to the changes to co-investment, please note that the associated changes to our payment systems will take several weeks to introduce. This means that providers will continue to receive monthly payments representing 95% of the agreed price for training and assessment until June, when backdated payments for April and May for the 5% balance of funding will be made.

Ruth Canham-James

It's out now 😊 

Jade Wilson

My interpretation of this in version 3 is that the co-investment waiver is in place for all 16-21 apprentices with a non-levy paying employer, not just SME? However, the MFA still states that this is required for waiving of the small employer contribution, which is no longer the case for these apprentices, as co-investment is being waivered based on not paying in to the levy and has nothing to do with SME?

Sharon Lillywhite

Hi, Just read this,

SME  16-21 year olds , 22-24 EHCP up to 50 employees no financial contribution. 5% remains for over 50 employees for all learners if non levy.

Is this how everyone is reading this?

Jade Wilson

I've just noticed that the 24/25 rules state that the MFA is required for waiving of the employer contribution, but the 23/24 rules still state that it is required for the waiving of the small employer contribution. I can only assume that this was not corrected in error, and that we should be collecting MFA for all 16-21 apprentices from 1st April 2024 who have the co-investment waiver. 

Ben James

Agree. The evidence requirements in subsidy control still referencing the 'small employer' contribution is (i'm guessing) an oversight. P162 is the actual rule, so would operate on that basis i.e., where it's been waived for the non-levy 16-21 apps from April 1st

162. Waiving of the employer contribution for eligible employers is likely to amount to a subsidy (see paragraphs 143 to 145). The subsidy control rules will therefore apply to such cases. For more information on subsidy control, please visit the UK subsidy control regime guidance on GOV.UK.