How to access the funding in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Creative Employment Programme (NI CEP) has been funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

All funds we distribute through the programme must be awarded following an open and competitive application process.

If you are made a formal offer of funding, you need to sign a funding agreement with us. This will include a payment schedule and any conditions associated with a payment.

Once all conditions have been met we will make a BACS payment directly into your bank account using the details you have provided.

Wage funding

The programme can cover some of the wage costs for new apprenticeship and paid internship job opportunities. 


The apprentice needs to be aged 16-24, employed for a minimum of 21 hours per week and for at least two years.

We offer up to £3500 towards the total wage costs for every new apprenticeship paid at the National Apprentice rate, which applies for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship.

We offer up to £5000 towards the total wage costs for every new apprenticeship paid at the National Minimum Wage.


We offer up to £1500 towards the total wage costs for every new internship. The intern needs to be aged 18-24,  employed for a minimum of 26 weeks at 30 hours per week and paid at least the National Minimum Wage.

Our grants make a contribution to the total costs of employing a young person.  This does not include the costs of recruitment e.g. job adverts

Match funding

The NI CEP can only offer a grant to contribute towards the cost of an apprentice or intern and the employer will need to make up the rest.

Additional match funding

Employers are also free to secure their own match funding through organisations such as Local Authorities or Trusts and Foundations; we would ask that any match funding sourced by the applicant is clearly identified within their application for funding.

Other Arts Council of Northern Ireland funds cannot be used to match the NI CEP.

Making more than one funding application

Employers must not submit more than one application for funding to the NI CEP at the same time.

However employers may be involved in more than one partnership bid. Where this is the case, it must be declared in both applications so that we can keep track of the allocation of opportunities per organisation.

You are free to make subsequent applications, once you have been notified of the outcome of any previously submitted applications. Organisations may apply to employ a maximum of three apprentices and paid internships over the course of the NI CEP programme.

As the NI CEP intends to support new job opportunities across Northern Ireland, please note that repeated applications from the same geographical locations cannot all be successful.

Schedule for applications

We have been open for applications since May 2015. The funding applications run in frequent rounds that each last ten weeks. 

Awards will continue until January 2017. This means some NI CEP job opportunities will continue for some months after the final funding round has closed.