DfE launches new matching and redundancy support service for apprentices

A new service that allows employers to share their vacancies with redundant apprentices has been launched by the Department for Education.

The “vacancy sharing service” has been set up alongside a new online and telephone support service for apprentices who have lost their jobs during Covid-19 outbreak.

Apprenticeship vacancies can already be viewed via the government’s Find An Apprenticeship website, but the new service, which can be accessed by clicking here, will see the DfE “share your [employer] details with [redundant] apprentices who are interested in your opportunity, so they can contact you directly”.

Separately, a new ‘Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices’ is available for apprentices by calling 0800 015 0400.

Out-of-work apprentices are being advised to call that line to “get free advice, find new opportunities, and access local and national support services offering financial, health and wellbeing, legal and careers advice”.

“You can also read our guidance for apprentices affected by redundancy. There’s advice for finding alternative employment, plus information about financial support and talking to someone about how you’re coping,” the service adds.

The government has set an aim of helping apprentices to find alternative employment within 12 weeks of being made redundant.

Apprenticeships and skills minister Gillian Keegan said: “Covid-19 has had a big impact on business and the jobs market, and we know that some apprentices have lost their jobs or are facing redundancy as a result.

“We are taking unprecedented steps through our Plan for Jobs to protect, support and create jobs, with a clear focus on ensuring people have the right skills to get into work and progress. This includes creating more high quality apprenticeship opportunities to help get our economy moving.

“Our new Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices will make sure apprentices who have lost their jobs can get the help and support they need to get back on track and on the path to a new career.”

The new service also advise employers that they could be eligible for incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice from tomorrow, as announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak in his summer statement.

From August 2020 until the 31 January 2021, businesses taking on new apprentices will be rewarded with £2,000 for a 16 to 24-year-old and £1,500 for a 25 year-old or over. Further detail of the incentives can be found here.

The incentives are hoped to go some way to reversing the substantial drop in apprenticeship start caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Data published by the DfE yesterday showed that apprenticeship starts for the month of May 2020 fell 60 per cent on the previous year.

And starts recorded from March 23 – when lockdown started – to the end of June showed a 52 per cent drop compared to the same period in 2019.