The government has announced it will be extending the traineeship programme to cover 19 to 24-year-olds as part of today’s spending review.
Traineeships, which combine work experience placements with maths, English and employability training, are set begin in August for 16 to 19-year-olds.
A government spokesperson has told FE Week the extension to 24-year-olds will also apply from August, although further detail was not included in the spending review as laid out in Parliament by Chancellor George Osborne.
However, it was also announced that within the adult skills budget, the funding for apprenticeships would be” maintained in real terms” for adults over 19.
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: “In tough times this is a positive outcome for skills, with funding for apprenticeships protected and the extension of traineeships to those between 19 and 24.”
But the review further said savings would be made on adult skills spending as 19 to 24-year-olds were proportionally overrepresented amongst the people who benefit from the adult skills budget.
Funding for 16 to 19 education and apprenticeships will also be reformed to “improve value for money” and the review warned “the sector will be expected to make efficiencies”.
There will also be a consultation this summer into options for major reform of apprenticeships funding to give employers more power.
It will consider options such as making payments to employers, reforming the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ delivery systems and use of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs’ Pay As You Earn system.
The spending review said this “confirms the government’s commitment to implement the key reforms set out in the Richard Review, which will put employers at the centre of the apprenticeships system and raise standards.”
In the FE sector at least £260m in savings will also be made through prioritising higher value qualifications, and reducing non-participation spending.
Mr Hancock added: “We are reforming the skills system to remove lower quality qualifications, and make it more responsive to business and have also established a permanent fund so that employers can design their own training programmes to address specific skills shortages, and help Britain compete.”
Commenting on the spending review, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “I made it clear that I would fight for a deal that ensured the government had a credible growth story.
“The settlement we’ve achieved for this spending round does exactly that by prioritising and protecting activities that are key to growth.
“We have secured a robust funding package for science and innovation, skills and apprenticeships and more money for the regional growth fund, creating jobs outside of London, and the Green Investment Bank.
“We are also unique in having a two year capital funding guarantee, with a three year guarantee for science funding, giving business the certainty it needs to invest alongside government commitments.”