18 July 2023

The apprenticeship care leavers bursary payment will increase from £1000 to £3000, for new starts on 1 August 2023. This increase is intended to keep up with the rising costs of living and incentivise apprenticeship take up among young care leavers who are currently eligible for the bursary. It will be paid in instalments across the first year of their apprenticeship.

Mentioned in June Employer Bulletin, the Department for Education (DfE) announced that the bursary available to care leavers, aged 16 to 24, undertaking apprenticeships will increase from the current payment rate of £1,000 to £3,000. The bursary is available to individuals who have been in the care of a local authority anywhere in the UK, as long as the apprenticeship they enter into is based in England.

DfE stated that it recognises that care leavers face higher living costs than their peers as they live independently at a younger age and may not have a wider family network for support. The increased rate will help those in care and care leavers access and complete apprenticeships, providing them with a great route into sustainable employment. The payment will not affect the care leaver’s entitlement to claim tax credits.

Employers and training providers will continue to receive an additional £1,000 in funding for every apprentice who is a care leaver aged 16 to 24.

In 2020, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) introduced an exemption to make sure that the bursary to care leavers who undertake an apprenticeship will not be subject to income tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs). An amendment has been made to regulations to make sure the increased payment remains exempt from income tax and NICs. Guidance on this exemption can be found here.

Further information on the apprenticeship care leavers bursary payment can be found here.

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