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.

Remember to check your local authority and the government website as well because they may offer free educational resources in the form of webinars, downloads and podcasts.

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

Government Finance and Support for your Business

The government’s business funding website is typically the first stop for grants and other types of funding. If you type the word ‘training’ into the search bar along with ticking the ‘Grant’ tickbox, it’ll narrow down your search. It’s worth knowing that some of the grants listed could be out of date.

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 £10-£500 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)

Flexible AI Upskilling Fund

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) recently announced a £7.4m pilot scheme to subsidise the cost of AI skills training for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the professional business services sector.

£6.4m of grant funding is available in the financial year 2024-2025.

Through this pilot programme, eligible business can apply for funding for up to 50 per cent of the cost of AI skills training. This is training which supports employees to develop their technical skills and/or understanding of AI to be able to develop, deploy or use AI in their role.

The funding competition will be open to applicants who are:

  • Registered and operate in the UK
  • Employ between 1-249 employees in the UK
  • Defined as an SME per the SME Action Plan
  • Have been operating for at least one year
  • Able to match-fund 50 per cent of the cost of the training
  • Operate in the professional and business services sector

Additional eligibility and full application criteria will be set out when the funding competition opens in May.

If you are interested in applying to the programme, please register for the Expression of Interest through Find A Grant website.

Archive Skills Bursaries

The National Archives Skills Bursaries provide grants of up to £1,000 per person, to archivists and heritage professionals, to support access to training and development opportunities. To support archivists in building the skills needed for the future, The National Archives is offering bursaries for archivists seeking to access training, career professional development or mentoring that would not usually be available in their own organisational development programmes.

Closing date: March 31 2024, 11:59pm

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 entrepreneurship or social venture. Alongside giving you up to £18,000 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.

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 £60
  • Tier 2 is £140
  • Tier 3 is £240

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 on where you are in Britain. They’re split into England, Scotland and Wales.


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


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 (same as the B&CE). Eligibility is based on ECITB guidelines.

Location-specific grants


Made Smarter West of England

Made Smarter West of England can make this transition easier for you with their Leadership for Driving Technological Change training programme which is geared towards manufacturers and makers.

Developed by the Bristol Business School and the School of Engineering at UWE Bristol. The programme will enhance your leadership skills while implementing new digital tools for your business.

During the programme, you will:

  • Take a strategic view on adopting new digital technology into your operations
  • Understand your leadership capabilities and digital opportunities
  • Learn the skills to drive change within the organisation
  • Improve the productivity of the workforce through technology, processes and management techniques

It’s also a chance to build a peer network of like-minded business leaders. For more information, visit

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).

Skills Bootcamps Cheshire and Warrington

Cheshire and Warrington LEP have been awarded a further £2m from the Department for Education to deliver Skills Bootcamps to over 640 learners in Cheshire and Warrington between April 2024 and March 2025.

While individual Skills Bootcamps may have specific/additional eligibility requirements, please find below the general requirements to apply for a Skills Bootcamp:


  • Open to any adult over the age of 19 on 31 August 2024
  • Right to work in the UK
  • Resident or employed in Cheshire & Warrington
  • Able to meet the time commitment of the Skills Bootcamp
  • Have not completed another Skills Bootcamp within the last 12 months


  • Located in Cheshire & Warrington (either main or ancillary site)
  • Able to meet the co-funding requirement
  • (10 per cent SME, 30 per cent large employers (250+ employees))
  • Able to release nominated staff member to meet the time commitment of the Skills Bootcamp


This page has quite a few grant options for training courses, so we thought it best just to link through the page and let you see all of them.

Workforce Upskilling Grant

The workforce upskilling grant is a non-repayable grant administered by Business Gateway Fife, for Fife companies looking to improve the productivity and profitability of their business through staff training.

Businesses can use the grant towards staff training to develop their workforce in various areas, such as:

  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Lean/Six Sigma
  • Cybersecurity
  • Using Hybrid/Virtual Reality in the workplace
  • Leadership
  • Project management
  • Computer-Aided Draughting and Design (CAD)

While the grant is not restricted to any particular topic or training provider, it is based on the employer’s needs.

For more information and guidance on the application process for the workforce upskilling grant please contact Business Gateway Fife on 01592 858333.

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


Expanding numeracy skills for employed adults

Mid Wales Manufacturing Group (MWMG) are running a number of numeracy courses. There is also the opportunity for businesses in Powys to apply for a bespoke training grant of up to £2,500.  

These small training grants are to assist businesses to grow and adapt to the changing marketplace and support employees to develop their numeracy skills.  The type of training which can be supported is very varied and includes things such as Excel, Welding Speeds & Feeds, SPC, FMEA, Visual Management and more.  


  • Applicant employers must commit to release staff to undertake approved training and submit claims by the end of November 2024  
  • Each employer can make one application to this programme 
  • The funding is discretionary and the final decision on eligibility rests with the Grant Awarding Panel 
  • The funding cannot be for legislative or mandatory training  
  • Minimum one individual attending training who doesn’t have a GCSE in maths 

For more information or an application please contact

ReAct for Businesses

ReAct is a redundancy support which helps businesses in Wales to 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. An additional £1,000 will be available if you employ a disabled person or a young person aged 18-24. The scheme will cover those who are either a formal notice of redundancy or or be within 12 months of redundancy.

Start-up Business Grants, Newport City

This grant is currently closed but will reopen April 2024.

Grants of up to £2,500 are available outside the city centre and up to £5,000 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 can be used as match funding towards up to three capital equipment items. Specifically, this covers, plant and equipment, ICT equipment and software, and/or website development and related training.

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 £15,000 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.

Skills for Growth for SMEs

Financial support for training activities is available to Invest NI customers who are SMEs.

The scheme supports trainee wages, internal trainer, external trainer and travel and accommodation costs. Grant support is variable up to a maximum of 50 per cent of eligible costs. Mandatory training, induction training and repeat training are not eligible and VAT is excluded.

This support is available for a period up to 24 months although extensions can be sought on a case-by-case basis. Trainee wage costs cannot exceed the costs of all other eligible costs.

Skills Focus Programme

Skills Focus is a fully funded programme that provides tailored training for small to medium-sized businesses to increase the skills levels of the existing workforce. It’s open to employers and businesses in Northern Ireland with fewer than 250 employees.

Skills Focus aims to support, promote and facilitate collaborative working between business and further education colleges, in order to provide tailored skills provision to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to increase the skills levels of your workforce to level 2 and above qualifications. The programme is currently fully funded by the Department for the Economy.

Key activities which are not eligible for funding under the programme include training which relates to an employer’s statutory or legal requirement, including a renewal of a qualification. This includes training which displaces an employer’s modus operandi and internal staff training.

How to increase your chances of successfully 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.

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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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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