New apprenticeship rules to give more young people a working chance

Apprenticeship expert Steve Rushton today welcomed new plans to fully fund apprenticeships in small businesses for young people up to aged 21 from April.

“This is a major step forward in providing UK business with a highly trained and effective workforce while giving a brighter future to many younger people,” said Steve, head of Stoke-on-Trent based Training and Business Solutions Ltd.

The full cost of training will be funded for anyone up to the age of 21, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday (18 March, 2024). Underpinned by £60m of additional funding, the initiative is designed to remove the need for small employers to meet some of the cost of training and to save time and costs for apprenticeship providers who currently need to source funding separately from the government and businesses.

Reforms are also being made to the Apprenticeship Levy paid by larger employers. Big firms who don’t use their training funds through the levy will now be able to pass on half of their allowance to smaller businesses.

The Government claim that, taken together, the reforms are expected to enable up to 20,000 more apprenticeships, primarily for young people, and is part of our plan to build a stronger economy and deliver a brighter future where hard work is rewarded and young people get the skills they need to succeed in life.

Steve Rushton has been a major figure in getting North Staffordshire’s young people a pathway into employment since 2007, heading up training at PM Training and the Aspire Group, before setting up his own business, Training and Business Solutions, in November 2022.

In just 18 months, Training and Business Solutions Ltd has supported 186 people into work and or supported employees to learn skills and develop their roles within a business.

He said: “Reform to boost apprenticeships is fundamental. In one example, we currently have young people ready to go onto a specialist course to train as gas engineers.

“This will provide them with a trade that is much needed right now in the UK. The Gas Safe organisation say there’s a major shortage of young engineers and an ageing workforce.

“But we need more employers willing to take them on as apprentices to allow them to train. Ensuring small businesses pay nothing for apprentices aged under-21 provides that incentive to give these young people a chance.

“Reforms to the apprenticeship levy could also mean more money to help apprentices of all ages. Previously, levy payers have been able to gift 25% of their unused levy to smaller businesses. Upping this figure to 50% should bring more money into the system.

To find out more about Training and Business Solutions, please go online to


For media enquiries contact Nigel Howle. Telephone 0776 2043436, email [email protected]