COVID-19: Automotive Business Support

SMMT Apprentice Support Programme

Applications are closing 31st October.


On 28 September 2020 the SMMT Charitable Trust Fund (SCTF) launched a new initiative designed to help retain apprentices training in the UK automotive sector. The SMMT Apprentice Support Programme aims to support SMEs undergoing restructuring as a result of the global pandemic and growing economic uncertainty by offering a stipend towards the yearly salary of chosen apprentices.

The scheme earmarks £100,000 to be spent on the salaries of apprentices currently employed by SMEs within the sector. Successful candidates will have their apprentice salaries covered for up to a year by the scheme, ahead of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) running out at the end of October.

To ensure the sector’s commitment to safeguarding these jobs, the scheme requires small and medium-sized SMMT member companies applying to stipulate a contribution towards the full £14,000 apprentice salary, as business needs permit, in order to unlock a stipend as made available by the SCTF.


The application process will ask for the employer to make a case for the funding – to include:

  • How much they are requesting
  • Personal Details of the Apprentice
  • Details of the apprenticeship
  • What will the apprentice add to the long-term success of the business?
  • What are the apprentice’s prospects and career path?
  • Company details
  • How many apprentices the company employs
  • A personal statement from the apprentice

Company declaration – the employer must show evidence that they require funding support and must sign a declaration to say that they meet the following criteria:

  • That without this funding, they may have been forced to discontinue the apprenticeship
  • That this money will be used solely to pay an employee’s salary
  • That they will continue to employ the apprentice for the full period and are able to provide them with the exposure/experience to complete the apprenticeship successfully
  • That they will notify the SCTF immediately if the apprentice leaves their employment
  • That they will notify the SCTF immediately if the apprentice fails to complete their apprenticeship

Ongoing assessment and final feedback

  • The Member company would be expected to provide a quarterly update and renewed declaration of the need for the grant before the next instalment is made.
  • A final report and feedback to the scheme would be required for the final payment.


Successful applicants will be informed 26-30 October.

Timings of the payment schedule:

  • 2-13 November 2020 Initial payment (first quarter)
  • 1-12 February 2021 Second quarter payment
  • 1-30 April 2021 Interim Assessment conducted
  • 3-14 May 2021 Third quarter payment
  • 31 October 2021 Completion bonus (fourth quarter payment)

The Programme is now accepting applications. To apply, please fill out the form here.

The deadline for submissions is 16th October 2020.

If you have any questions are your applications, please contact Kerry Boniface at the SMMT on