The UK government is offering small creative businesses the chance to benefit from £1500 incentive payments in exchange for taking on an apprentice.

Small firms taking on their first apprentice will be eligible to receive government incentive payments of up to £1500, which will be administered by Skillset.

Up to 500 small businesses (with 250 employees or less) could benefit. The first places are set to be offered in September 2012.

The announcement was made by business secretary Vince Cable at the launch of the fifth annual National Apprenticeship Week held at Channel 4’s offices in London this morning (Feb 6).

The Government and Creative Industries Council recently endorsed Skillset to lead a drive to help more companies in the sector take on apprentices in partnership with the National Apprenticeships Service (NAS). This will include a promotional campaign to raise the profile of apprenticeships in the creative industries.

Vince Cable said: “Apprenticeships are at the centre of the Government’s skills policy because we know that they work. Not only do they provide individuals with the skills they need for prosperous and rewarding careers, they also boost businesses’ profits and drive growth in the wider economy.

“I’m pleased that the Creative Industries recognise this and we support all the work they are doing to increase the number of apprenticeships in the sector, particularly in small businesses.