Train to Retain

Train to Retain training support is now available on open application basis.

The scheme is designed to support the retention of essential early-careers skills within the industry in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and economic downturn. Last year we pledged to support more than 500 apprentices, trainees and graduates.

The change of process means applications will be open until 23rd November 2021 with funding available for eligible individuals to undertake further training and development, enabling them to acquire new skills and remain with their current employer until 31st December 2021.

The ECITB will contribute a day rate for each employee of £110 for apprentices, £120 for trainees or £130 for graduates.  The initial and extended funding support will be capped at 120 days per eligible employee.

The ECITB will review applications and agree funding every six weeks – approval is contingent on an individual’s Development Plan, the employer’s existing Train to Retain funding commitments and overall budget availability. The ECITB Board will review the operation of the scheme on a regular basis and consider any changes that may be necessary.

The Train to Retain support is available to in-scope businesses of all sizes, from all engineering construction sectors and all regions of the UK.

Application submission dates

Stage 1 – Application Submission Deadline Stage 2 – Development Plan Submission Deadline
5th May 21st May
15th June 2nd July
27th July 13th August
7th September 24th September
19th October 5th November
23th November 10th December

Eligibility criteria

The qualifying disciplines for apprentices are: plating, pipefitting, welding, rigging, electrical installation, electrical maintenance, mechanical fitting, mechanical maintenance, instrumentation and control, project controls, design and draughting, thermal insulation and NDT (non-destructive testing).

To qualify for grant support individuals must meet one of the criteria set out below.

  • Any apprentice not in full time off-the-job training and employed prior to 31 December 2020. This includes apprentices attending both day release and block release.
  • Any apprentice who is within 3 months of completing their full time off the job training at closing date of application .
  • Any individual who has completed their apprenticeship within 6 months at closing date of application. Completed is defined by the date on the apprenticeship certificate.

Train to Retain now includes support for trainees who are within the first 3 years of a formal entry level/ early careers programme, delivered in one of the qualifying disciplines already set out for apprentices and graduates, and employed prior to 31 December 2020.  The duration of support for trainees will initially be capped at 120 days and the day rate of £120 will apply.

The qualifying disciplines for graduates include: environmental engineering, electrical, structural, civil, chemical, construction, instrumentation, marine engineering, mechanical (includes piping), petroleum engineering, process, process technical safety, project controls, project management and structural architects.

The application process is now open to all graduates within the first 3 years of a company graduate programme and employed prior to 31 December 2020.

The aim of this scheme is to support the ongoing development of apprentices and graduates who are unable to pursue their current recognised industry programmes at the present time. It will also support the further training of recently qualified apprentices (within 6 months of completing) who may benefit from additional development.

Grant will be paid in respect of these training and development activities. The grant rate will be:

  • Apprentices – £110 per day
  • Trainees – £120 per day
  • Graduates – £130 per day

Apprentice interim grants will be paid for apprentices who continue with the work based elements of their apprenticeship during the period of the agreed development plan. If an apprentice is not actively engaged in their programme while participating in Train to Retain the apprentice interim grants will be deferred until they have resumed work based activities.

The graduate scheme grant will continue to be paid as agreed but an employer cannot receive the Train to Retain day rate grant for any training activity that has or will be funded by the Graduate scheme grant, as a single training activity cannot be funded twice.

Furlough – employers will not usually be able to access Train to Retain support in respect of any days on which their employee (apprentice or graduate) is furloughed. Individuals who have been furloughed on a part time basis may continue to access Train to Retain on their working days.

It is a published requirement in the ECITB’s Grant Policy that employers may be required to permit ECITB’s auditors to have access to records relating to training activity which is supported by grant awards.

The maximum available support per individual will be 120 days.

As agreed by the board extended funding of up to 120 days will be available to individuals currently on the scheme. Criteria is that as of the published application review date the individual has less than 30 approved train to retain days funding remaining.  Further access to this additional funding will be reviewed on a regular basis.

The scheme is targeted at apprentices, trainees and graduates who are unable to pursue their current recognised industry programmes at the present time. As entry-level workers, they are relatively inexperienced and as such are more vulnerable during times of economic instability. By targeting the retention of essential ECI skills, as opposed to generic skills, Train to Retain helps to retain the future talent our industry needs to grow and remain competitive.

Employers will submit a formal stage 1 application to the ECITB. The stage 1 application will require the employer to outline the number of individuals they wish to access the scheme, the duration of the support they are requesting and a brief overview of proposed development activities.

Following the closing date for applications, a funding decision in principle will be awarded and at this point the employer will progress to stage 2 of the application process where more detailed information will be required on those accessing the scheme along with a structured development plan with clear learning outcomes and lines of assessment for each individual. Development Plans must be submitted by the stated deadline. Failure to submit Plan(s) within this window will result in withdrawal of the funding approved in principle. This will help us to maximise the use of the budget in a way that does not lead to long-term, potentially unused commitments and ensure budget is fairly allocated.

The ECITB’s account management team will be on hand to provide any support required to assist in the creation of these development plans. These plans may include activity to support the individual’s current role and/or activities to broaden the skills of the individual in key areas such as the 4th Industrial Revolution 4 (IR4), Diversity & Inclusion (D&I), energy transition and the net zero agenda.

Grant support will be available for development activities undertaken from 3rd August and will be managed through the ECITB’s MSP. Employers will be required to provide relevant evidence on progress against the agreed development plans and to make grant claims in the normal manner.

The ECITB Train to Retain scheme will be subject to monitoring and evaluation processes to ensure we are meeting the scheme’s objectives and to enable us to assess the scheme’s impact. Evaluation will also enable us to continuously improve the mechanisms through which we provide support to our employers.

Employers accessing the scheme agree to participate in evaluation processes. This will be done through the scheme application and follow-up after 6 months and 1 year following the closure of the scheme.

All data provided for monitoring and evaluation purposes will be handled in strict accordance with GDPR regulations, and will be anonymised for analysis and reporting purposes.


Please note:- The application process for Train to Retain is only open to in-scope ECITB employers. Applications must be made using the online form. Download a PDF of the application form for reference here. For support completing your application form online please contact your ECITB Account Manager.


Employers will not usually be able to access Train to Retain support in respect of any days on which their eligible employee (apprentice, trainee or graduate) is furloughed.  Individuals who have been furloughed on a part time basis may continue to access Train to Retain on their working days.

Any level so long as it meets the qualifying disciplines.

As structured development plans will not have been presented and reviewed by the programme panel it will not be possible to backdate funding.

No, however this will form part of the Stage 1 Application evaluation and making decisions in principle. The ECITB will also factor in budget considerations when making a decision on the number of individuals it will support for any one company.

An employer must inform the ECITB if they do not plan to claim any further Train to Retain grant that has been agreed. This will occur when an individual can no longer undertake their T2R development activities, for instance because they have resumed their normal work activities.

Yes. Apprentices/trainees/graduates may move between Train to Retain development activities and their normal work activities. Similarly, an individual who is furloughed on a part time basis may access Train to Retain to conduct development activities on days they are not furloughed.