The Scotland and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF), which represents employers in the plumbing and heating sector in Northern Ireland and Scotland, has welcomed a new Apprentice Recovery Package from Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy.
The initiative will fund apprenticeships for new apprentices, those who have been made redundant as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and those returning from furlough, with up to £3,750 of financial support per apprentice.
To support the recruitment of new apprentices, funding of up to £3,000 is available to all employers for each new apprenticeship opportunity created from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.
The application process is now open and this arrangement will apply to all new apprenticeship opportunities, including apprentices who have been made redundant.
To help apprentices returning from furlough and to retain them until 31st March 2021 and on to successful completion of their apprenticeship, the Northern Ireland government has also introduced an Apprenticeship Return, Retain and Result Scheme.
This will provide incentive payments to employers for apprentices up to a maximum of £3,700 per apprentice. The application process for this scheme will open on 1 December 2020.
Fiona Hodgson, Chief Executive of SNIPEF, said: “This is excellent news for our members in Northern Ireland and we warmly welcome the initiative of the Province’s Department for the Economy. Everyone understands the importance of recruiting and developing apprentices since the future of the plumbing and heating sector depends upon them.
“We applaud the introduction of this incentive, not only in its aim of recruiting new apprentices but also in supporting those who have been made redundant through no fault of their own and deserve a further opportunity to complete their course of learning.”
SNIPEF, which has just over 750 member firms employing more than 3500 plumbers, it has been providing professional and practical assistance to plumbing and heating businesses in both jurisdictions and continues to meet member needs by developing relevant and practical services.