Autumn statement: £50m pilot for ‘growth sector’ apprenticeships

Apprentice minimum wage rises, while talks over levy restrictions continue

Apprentice minimum wage rises, while talks over levy restrictions continue

22 Nov 2023, 14:08

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The chancellor has announced a £50 million pilot to “stimulate” apprenticeship training in engineering and other growth sectors.

Jeremy Hunt revealed plans for a two-year ‘apprenticeship growth sector pilot’ in his autumn statement today, but no policy details have yet been released.

He told the House of Commons: “We want to increase the numbers of apprenticeships. Following engagement with Make UK and others, I’m announcing a further £50 million of funding over the next two years to pilot ways to increase the number of apprentices in engineering and other key growth areas where there are shortages.”

Treasury documents published after his speech failed to shed any more light on how the pilot will run, or when it will officially launch.

“The government continues to work closely with businesses to improve the apprenticeship system to meet the needs of learners, employers and training providers”, the documents said.

“The government is supporting plans to catalyse the growth sectors by committing £50 million to deliver a two-year apprenticeships pilot to explore ways to stimulate training in these sectors and address barriers to entry in high-value standards.”

A government spokesperson said it will engage with the skills sector in the New Year before confirming final details.

Levy restriction talks ongoing

FE Week reported last week that the Treasury and Number 10 had drawn up plans to restrict the use of levy funding for degree-level apprenticeships.

Lobby groups have been appealing to the chancellor to drop the proposal, and the Department for Education is understood to also be resisting.

Hunt made no mention the apprenticeship levy in today’s autumn statement, but FE Week understand discussions about potential restrictions are ongoing.

Apprentice minimum wage rise

The Treasury confirmed today that the minimum hourly wage for apprentices will see a 21 per cent increase from April 2024.

It means apprentices will see their minimum hourly pay rise from £5.28 to £6.40.

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