How to find grants for training courses

Eligibility for grants is usually dependent on the size of your company, where it is based and what you want to use the money for

There are a variety of training courses focused around helping your business keep up – and even flourish – in an ever-changing market.

This can be any training for you or your employees, leading to greater productivity, filling a skills need within the business or another purpose. Grants are often distributed based on location, sector or company size so read the grants below carefully before you click through.

>See also: 150 UK small business grants to apply for right now

The Grants Hub

The Grants Hub is a starting point for finding your business training grant and they’re split by sector and location within the UK. There’s also a section covering grants for non-profit firms. You’ll find listings of government grants as well as private sector grants. There are different eligibility guidelines for different grants.

Prince’s Trust

Another good source for help with funding is the Prince’s Trust, which offers development awards to help younger people kickstart their business or access training courses.

At present the Trust offers development awards of between £175-£250 for UK residents aged between 16 and 30 who are looking for funds to help with training. They must fit the following criteria:

  • Aged 16 to 30 and living in the UK
  • Studying less than 14 hours a week or not in compulsory education
  • Unemployed or working less than 16 hours a week

Furthermore, development awards can support:

  • Accredited course fees up to Level 3 (A level equivalent)
  • Tools, equipment or uniforms for a job or qualification
  • Job licence fees
  • Transport to a new job until your first pay slip

Development awards can’t support:​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

  • Living expenses e.g. rent or bills
  • Business start-up costs
  • Costs for items that have already been paid for
  • Gap year or overseas projects​​​​​​​
  • Level 4 course fees and beyond (i.e. Higher National Certificate​​​​​​ or Diploma)

Private grants

Below are some private grants that aim to help you develop your small business through training.

UnLtd Awards

Administered by UnLtd, the Awards will help you start your social enterprise. Alongside giving you up to £15,000 to build your social venture, they’ll give you access to training and events as well as assigning you a dedicated award manager (an expert in helping social entrepreneurs to start and grow). The award manager will be there to coach you and support you in achieving your goals.

ReAct for Businesses

ReAct is a redundancy support which helps businesses connect with people who have lost their jobs. The programme can help you pay their wages and get them into role-specific training.

You’ll receive £3,000 in quarterly instalments for the first 12 months to help cover their wages plus up to £1,000 for any job-related training. The scheme will cover those who are either a formal notice of redundancy or those who have been made redundant in the past three months.

Construction Industry Training Board (citb)

Short course, qualification and apprenticeship grants are available through the Construction Industry Training Board.

Different grants have different eligibility criteria, so check this out first.

Short course grants are paid in three tiers:

  • Tier 1 is £30
  • Tier 2 is £70
  • Tier 3 is £120

If the standard requires the training to be renewed after a specified time, you can apply for a full grant for it, provided that it’s completed within that time period.

There are currently five qualification grants available – short period and VQ Grant (under one year), longer qualification grants (over one year), construction work experience grants, advanced craft certificate (Scotland) grant and the specialist applied skills programmes grant.

Apprenticeship grants are different depending where you are in Britain. They’re split into England, Scotland and Wales.

B&CE

Corporate grants are available from B&CE’s charitable trust for projects that either promote careers in the construction industry or lead to accredited qualifications.

Applications from not-for-profit organisations are encouraged, excluding public sector. If you’d like to find out more or make an application, call the Construction Worker Helpline on 0808 801 0372 or email charitabletrust@bandce.co.uk.

ECITB

This site is for engineering-specific training grants – funded by the industry training levy. The ECITB works with employers to upskill across the industry. The training areas covered are:

  • New entrant training
  • Craft/technician skills (mechanical joint integrity)
  • Safety training (excluding the CCNSG safety passport)
  • Leadership, management and supervisory development
  • Competence assurance (e.g. vocational qualifications and technical tests)
  • Contractual requirement (e.g. works access and plant operations)
  • Project management, project controls and commercial awareness
  • Design training (e.g. CAD and BIM)

Some training, like safety passports, are exempt from grant funding.

The ECITB must agree to the funding first before it’s granted. It will be awarded based on:

  • The value for money offered by the training activity
  • The training fee levels set by third party provider
  • The desirability of particular training courses for industry

Call the Construction Worker Helpline on 0808 801 0372 or email us at charitabletrust@bandce.co.uk (same as the B&CE). Eligibility is based on ECITB guidelines.

Location-specific grants

England

Start-up Business Grants, Newport City

Grants of up to £5,000 are available outside the city centre and up to £10,000 for city centre businesses – up to a maximum 50 per cent of eligible expenditure. Elements of these grants are discretionary based on various economic and wellbeing objectives.

The grant is available towards the following elements:

  • First year’s rent when taking on commercial premises. (Eligible businesses are start-ups, or existing businesses who are taking on additional/larger premises or those who have been trading from home and are relocating to commercial premises)
  • Plant and equipment
  • ICT equipment and software
  • Website development and related training
  • Accredited training (short courses for up-skilling staff members)
  • Business/IT consultancy, professional fees and accreditations

Fantastic Services £5,000 (Re)start grant

Home services franchisor, Fantastic Services, has a programme offering cash grants to enable people to start up their own business within the domestic service industry in London.

Each grant is worth up to £5,000 and will go towards initial business start-up costs in addition to the training programme to help grant recipients with the skills they need to successfully run their own Fantastic Services franchise.

The Supplier Skills Programme

Part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and managed by Birmingham City Council (BCC), the Supplier Skills Programme (SSP) is aimed at existing small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) seeking to upskill new and existing employees.

SSP responds directly to the skills and training needs identified by SMEs for their employees, thereby offering SMEs what they want and at the time they need It, in order to implement their skills and growth plans.

Training grants of between £500 to a maximum of £18,000 per SME are available and training will be funded 50 per cent by the SME and 50 per cent by the European Social Fund grant.

SSP operates on a funding round basis, with rounds being held every quarter until programme closure in March 2023 (subject to availability of grant funding).

Salford Skills for Business Apprenticeship Fund

With this apprenticeship fund, you can get assistance to cover the cost of training for an apprentice role, apprenticeship training for your existing workforce and funding to support employment costs for a new apprentice.

Cumbria Business Startup Support Programme

For people starting a business or in their first three years of trading, this programme can include training and help developing your business plan. You’ll also get free basic membership of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce for one year when you start trading (worth up to £400).

Accelerate Cheshire and Warrington

Accelerate Cheshire and Warrington is a £30m programme that has been designed to support businesses to reskill and upskill their current workforce.

To receive 40 per cent funding: there is no restriction on the size of your business, but you must live or work within the Cheshire and Warrington area.

Below are areas of training on offer:

  • Management and leadership
  • Digital skills
  • Business skills

Scotland

Workforce Upskilling Grant

This scheme will give you at grant of up to £2,000 if you’re looking to improve productivity and profitability through staff training. The workforce upskilling grant can be a 100 per cent contribution so if the total cost of the training is £2,000 or less, they’ll cover the full amount.

Fife Financial Support to Businesses

Fife’s financial support covers businesses in the area looking to invest and grow. The fund amount is up to 70 per cent or £10,000, whichever is the smaller cost. It’s fully repayable and must be paid back over an agreed period except for some small funds which are a mixture of repayable and straight grant funded support.

There are many ways the fund can be used including:

  • Plant and machinery
  • Property improvements
  • Product development
  • Process improvements
  • Training
  • Market development

>See also: A complete list of Scottish business grants

Wales

Caerphilly Business Start-Up grant

This business development grant is to help companies to start up a business for the first time. Business start-ups in all business sectors may be considered. The applicant must be setting up the business in the Caerphilly County Borough.

Eligible costs could include:

  • Capital equipment
  • ICT equipment
  • Development of websites
  • Marketing
  • Building works to business premises
  • Training

The business must not have started prior to application and approval. It’s a discretionary grant and can provide 50 per cent of eligible project costs to a maximum of £500.

Northern Ireland

Skills Advancement Grant

Applicants can get up to £10,000 to go towards staff training for firms involved in manufacturing or internationally tradeable services. Just be aware that it’s only open to Invest Northern Ireland customers.

If you’re able to show that you intend to sell outside Northern Ireland, are actively working towards growth plans, and will contribute to increasing productivity and innovation in Northern Ireland, you could become a customer of Invest NI.

You’ll also need to have growth potential, with an actual turnover greater than or equal to £250,000 and external sales greater than or equal to 25 per cent or £250,000.

How to increase your chances of success of securing grants for training courses

Filling in grant application forms can be a laborious and time-consuming process – check out the following tips to help make the process easier.

  • Talk to grant providers before applying. Find out as much as you can about success rates and what criteria decisions are based on
  • The key is to plan in advance – don’t bank on the money being made available straightaway, as it takes a while for the application to be processed
  • Make sure you have a project or training course in mind that the grant will be used for.
  • Don’t underestimate the time you will have to spend doing research and completing the application
  • Don’t rely on getting it – grants are very competitive
  • Grants rarely pay for more than half of a project/training course, so think about how you are going to cover the rest of the cost
  • Read the small print and get someone else to double check the application to ensure it is thoroughly and clearly completed.

See also: Seven simple steps to create a successful staff training plan – A good training plan isn’t just a job description – it should cover hard and soft skills.

Related Topics

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1 Comment

  1. There are hardly any grants advertised for start-ups in London for any purpose. It’s very frustrating!

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