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Build your workforce and support young people

Scotland's Employer Recruitment Incentive targets support at unemployed young people. The goal is to get them into a job and keep them employed.

What's in it for you?

You can get up to £4,000 when your company commits to a new job or new Modern Apprentice (MA).

The funding is a contribution towards the additional costs of recruiting a young person during their first 52 weeks of sustainable employment.

If you pay them the living wage there will be an additional payment of £500.

The benefits

This incentive is a co-investment in young people with a view to helping businesses grow.

The Scottish Government funds the scheme, local authorities deliver it and Skills Development Scotland administers the programme on behalf of the Scottish Government.

As a national minimum, it is expected that 25% of places allocated to local authorities will support young people who are care leavers, carers, an ex-offender or disabled.

Are you eligible?

Funding is available to private business or third sector organisations of any size recruiting someone who is 16-29 years old, fitting one or more of the eligible groups, providing they can demonstrate the capacity to offer sustained employment. This can include recruitment into a Modern Apprenticeship. Public sector employers are not eligible to apply.

Find out more by downloading our Scotland's Employer Recruitment Incentive Q&A (annex A).

How to apply

Apply for funding and find out about local offers through a dedicated contact for your area, who can be found here.

Want to know more?

Eligibility and organisational roles

Find out who is eligible and the roles and responsibilities of the organisations involved by downloading our Q&A

Local authority contacts

Get in touch with your dedicated contact in your local authority area.

Operating rules

Here are our guidance on the rules and regulations.


550 places are available across all 32 Local Authorities in Scotland. Places are limited and will be accessed on a first come basis within local areas. Find out what is available here.

Background to recent changes

Scotland's Employment Recruitment Incentive was launched in June 2015 and paused in December 2015, amid uncertainty following the Chancellor’s spending review and how it would affect the Scottish budget.

SERI resumed in April 2016 and will run to 31 January 2017. It has a sharper focus on the job prospects of young people who face the greatest barriers to employment.

The element specifically targeted at small employers to recruit a Modern Apprentice will not be part of the SERI offer from April, unless the MA meets the targeted group criteria Q&A Annex A.

Additional in-work support offer

A package of additional in-work support is available to young people participating in SERI. It’s also available to the following additional young people:

  • Those who are about to be recruited but who may not be able to receive SERI (eg where a local authority no longer has SERI places available or where other issues preclude engagement)
  • Those young people already in employment (since 1 July 2015) where the employer considers additional support to sustain their first 52 weeks of employment is required.


From October 2016 in-work support has widened to include:

  • Up to 26 weeks of support to those who as a result of their barriers, require continuing ongoing in-work support to help them sustain their employment beyond the initial 13 weeks.
  • To employers offering awareness training sessions on disability, autism and care experience.
  • Young people gaining and sustaining Modern Apprenticeships, this includes support for Training Providers to allow them to offer tailored support to the young person. This will also include extended in-work support for up to 52 weeks from ODC.


To be eligible for in-work support all participants must 16-29 and meet at least one of the SERI Eligibility Groups (Q&A Annex A).

The In-Work Support is funded by the Scottish Government, managed by SDS and delivered by an extended Open Doors Consortium.

What support will the young person receive?

SDS will make available funding of up to £500 per young person to the organisations within Open Doors Consortium who deliver the support. This additional in-work support will be tailored to the needs of the individual and offers specialist employer services such as:

  • Accredited training
  • Enhanced monitoring and in-work support
  • Independent travel training
  • Job coaching and workplace reviews
  • Purchase of basic workplace clothing and equipment
  • Mentoring employers and staff in support strategies
  • Information on benefit/in-work benefit checks.


The Open Doors Consortium is made up of a partnership of third sector organisations.

It includes ENABLE Scotland, Action for Children Scotland, Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, Barnardo's, Capability Scotland, the Carers Trust, Concept Northern, Kibble, the Lennox Partnership, Remploy, RNIB Scotland, SAMH, the Shirlie Project, VERG Ltd and WEA. 

How to apply for additional in-work support:

Please contact Lianne Williams, , 0131 220 8255  or 07889 456 303 or Beth Stanners, 01698 737000 to make a referral to Open Doors.

For more information download the Open Doors Consortium Factsheet of in-work support.

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