To help employers bring more apprentices into industry, the ECITB has announced plans to front-load the commencement grant for engineering construction apprenticeships, offering £5,000 for each new recruit in 2021.

The grant applies to craft and technician apprentices recruited in 2021 and aims to kickstart recruitment with an eye on current skills needs and the workforce required to reach the UK’s net zero target. While the change does not represent an overall increase in grant, it will support employers’ year one cash flow during a period of fragile economic recovery.

ECITB Chief Executive Chris Claydon

ECITB Chief Executive Chris Claydon

Chris Claydon, Chief Executive of the ECITB, said: “As we emerge from the crisis, the ECITB can play a key role in ensuring the industry has a pipeline of fresh engineering talent to enter the workforce it needs to deliver projects and drive economic recovery.

“We hope this measure will give employers confidence to take on more new entrants to learn vital workplace skills through an apprenticeship. By incentivising employers to take on the apprentices we need now and for new roles in the net zero economy, the ECITB is making a real investment in the future of our industry.”

Despite initiatives to tackle the drop in apprenticeships in 2020, the ECITB’s recruitment last year was almost 30% below the target of 800 new apprentices. Encouragingly, the uptake of apprentices in the industry for 2021 has improved and recruitment levels look likely to hit or even exceed the Government skills body’s target. The ECITB wants to increase apprentice numbers further with an eye on future workforce requirements for the energy transition and beyond.


The ECITB commencement grant is £5,000 per craft and technician apprentice recruited in 2021.  The increase commencement grant will be offset over the three years of the apprenticeship.

How the change works:

Commencement 12-month Interim 24-month interim Completion

Current grants


£2k £ 4.5k £3k £2.5k

2021 Phased grants

£5k £3k £2k £2k


This increase in year 1 support is a temporary measure for 2021 apprenticeships only and does not apply to ECITB ITECs or Scholars. Qualification for this grant funding will not impact any other grant related commitments or discussion between employers and the ECITB.