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General COVID-19 Related InformationĀ 


Coronavirus: Apprenticeship Recovery Package

The Department for the Economy (DfE) has developed an Apprenticeship Recovery Package for Northern Ireland that will channel financial support to local businesses to help the apprenticeship system respond to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. 
There are three elements to the package:
Apprenticeship Return, Retain and Result Scheme – funding to a maximum of £3,700 per apprentice, distribution as follows:

  • Return - £500 per returned furloughed apprentice payable for the first full month of paid apprenticeship from 1 November 2020

  • Retain – maximum of £2,000 available: £500 per month for up to 4 months of paid apprenticeship between 1 December 2020 and 31 March 2021

  • Result - £1,200 for successful full framework achievement of a returned furloughed apprentice

Recruitment of New Apprenticeships - available to all employers to support the recruitment of new apprentices created from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. This bonus will apply to all new apprenticeship opportunities and includes apprentices who have been made redundant:

  • Payment 1 - £2,000 after 90 days retention

  • Payment 2 - £1,000 after 200 days retention from first employment

Apprenticeship Challenge Fund - currently in development to promote greater collaboration between employers and suppliers, whilst maintaining the employers’ role at the centre of the apprenticeship system and creating room for DfE to take a more creative and innovative approach to solving problems.
It is anticipated that the Challenge Fund will open for applications in October 2020 with awards made in November 2020.

Ventilator Readiness - Call to engineering firms

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is looking for organisations who can support in the supply of ventilators and ventilator components across the United Kingdom as part of the Government's response to COVID-19

Companies House Accounts Filing Extension

From 25 March 2020 businesses will be able to apply for a 3-month extension for filing their accounts. 

This joint initiative between the government and Companies House will mean businesses can prioritise managing the impact of Coronavirus.

Skills Focus Training Programme

Skills Focus is a skills development programme funded by the Department for the Economy (DfE) and delivered across Northern Ireland by the six further education colleges. It aims to help local businesses upskill their staff.

The Skills Focus programme is available for SMEs with fewer than 250 employees. Businesses can now access free upskilling for their staff, including those who are furloughed. Funding for the scheme had been at 75 per cent with businesses making up the other 25 per cent. The 25 per cent cost to businesses has now been removed, until 31 March 2021, to support companies throughout the pandemic. Courses, with accredited qualifications, are delivered by the local further education colleges across a range of areas including customer service, health and social care, leadership and tourism.


Bira’s Coronavirus Hub offers tangible advice and guidance on adapting your business during the pandemic compiling the latest Government guidance, webinars and resources as well as a free Bira membership support package to support you, your employees and your business.

DVA driving licence extensions and service updates

Department for Infrastructure aims to help customers get back on track by either restoring services or extending expiry dates for driving licences

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