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We understand that for most businesses the process and cost of taking on a new employee can be an expensive and difficult undertaking. We offer a range of support to local companies to help them find the right people and to ensure those people have the right skills.


We can help businesses find the right people to support their future growth. We will help with recruitment and pre-employment training and can arrange work trials and work experience to ensure the potential employee is the right person for your business. Recruitment incentives may be available.

East Ayrshire Recruitment Incentive grant

The grant can support private and third sector employers with a grant of up to £5,000 towards the costs of recruiting and employing an East Ayrshire resident who meets eligibility criteria. The funding can be used to recruit an employee for a new job or a modern apprenticeship and can cover a range of costs such as wages, training and travel.

This grant is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. 

Eligible jobs will:

  • offer a minimum of 26 weeks employment/52 weeks apprenticeship
  • guarantee a minimum of 16 hours per week
  • provide a contract of employment
  • ensure employees are paid at National Minimum/Living Wage or preferably at the Real Living Wage rate

Eligibility criteria for the Recruitment Incentive grant

Eligibility criteria:

  • the employer needs to be a small to medium sized enterprise based in East Ayrshire
  • employers who hold employee liability insurance
  • the employee must be 25 years and over (excluding the Modern Apprentice (MA) programme) currently not in employment, education or training
  • the employee must fall into one or more of the participants barriers:
    • above 54 years of age
    • armed forces veteran
    • asylum seekers
    • care experienced/care leaver
    • criminal convictions
    • disability
    • employed status affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • from employment deprived area (SIMD)
    • homeless or affected by housing exclusion
    • living in a jobless household
    • long term unemployed
    • long term physical illness / condition
    • low income employed
    • low skilled
    • material deprivation
    • mental health issues
    • migrant with a foreign background
    • no or limited work experience
    • primary carer of an older person
    • refugee
    • rural
    • substance related conditions
    • under 25 years of age (relates to MA only)
    • underemployed

How employers can apply

A maximum of three applications per employer per year can be made. Please contact on how to apply. 

Supported employment

Supported Employment has been successfully used for decades as a model for supporting people with disabilities to secure and retain paid employment. The model uses a partnership strategy to enable people with disabilities to achieve sustainable long-term employment and businesses to employ valuable workers.

We will work with local employers to find the right individual for your business. We will provide one-to-one support while the person develops their skills and build their confidence in the workplace. Training can be provided for other staff member to help them understand the nature of the person's disability and how they can best support them.

There is a strong business case for employing a diverse workforce as many companies have discovered. Find out more by visiting the British Association of Supported Employment (BASE) website or arrange a meeting with one of our job coaches by calling 01563 503000.


Business owners may be able to access financial support to undertake training or to train their staff. You can find out more information under Financial Support or speak to a Business Adviser on 01563 503237.

Further support

Business Gateway can provide support to help you understand the process of employing people. They run a workshop, Becoming an Employer, which will help you understand employment issues, legal obligations and will point you in the direction of further assistance.

Some businesses may also be able to access one-to-one HR consultancy support for advice on the recruitment process, sourcing the right staff, induction, workforce training, employee relations and the development of a HR strategic plan. 

Contact Information


Business Support
Opera House
8 John Finnie Street
Telephone(Ayrshire Business Support Helpline): 0330 678 1611