Calls renewed for apprenticeship incentive payments as data shows ‘rebalance’ towards young people

Three quarters of the 195,000 apprentices under the government's incentive scheme were aged 16-24.

Three quarters of the 195,000 apprentices under the government's incentive scheme were aged 16-24.

21 Jul 2022, 16:48

More from this author

Over three-quarters of the near 200,000 apprenticeship incentive payment claims were made for young people, new data has revealed, prompting fresh calls for incentives to be brought back.

The Department for Education published data this morning which showed that 195,590 claims were made by employers for the incentive scheme, which ran from August 2020 until the end of January this year.

More than three quarters – 77 per cent – were for new apprentices aged 16-24, with 23 per cent for those aged 25 and over.

The scheme was introduced by then-chancellor Rishi Sunak in August 2020 as part of his Plan for Jobs initiative, and offered firms £2,000 to take on apprentices aged 16-24, or £1,500 for those who employed a new apprentice aged 25 or above.

That incentive was then increased to £3,000 in March 2021 until September, before an extension until the end of January was confirmed. That extension period in itself saw a further 40,000 apprentices recruited under the scheme.

The data has prompted the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) – which has lobbied for an extension on multiple occasions – to renew its calls for the incentive to return.

Chief executive Jane Hickie said: “AELP lobbied for enhanced employer apprenticeship incentives as part of the Plan for Jobs, as we were confident that they would have a positive impact on apprenticeship uptake. The data proves that we were correct.

“Not only did apprenticeship starts increase at a difficult time in the economy, but incentives also led to positive impact on social mobility and rebalancing the system. 77 per cent of new apprentice starts as a result of the incentives were under 24 years old, 83 per cent of starts were at levels 2 and 3, with SMEs particularly benefiting.

“But since the incentives came to an end, we’ve already seen a reduction in both starts and vacancies.

“This is exactly why AELP are calling for a return of incentives – targeted at young people – which could be delivered by recycling unspent apprenticeship funding that would otherwise be returned to the Treasury.”

According to the DfE, health, public services and care were the sectors which accounted for the most claims – one in every four, while the business, administration, law, engineering and manufacturing technologies sectors made up around one in every five applications.

The DfE said over the 18 months of the programme, between 5,000 and 10,000 learners typically started on incentive schemes each month, although nearly 40,000 started in September 2021.

Stephen Evans, chief executive of Learning and Work Institute, said: “It’s welcome to see a high proportion of apprenticeship incentives going to young people and at levels 2 and 3 – the groups and levels that have seen the biggest falls in recent years.

“It’s likely the incentives made something of a difference during the pandemic, but without a proper evaluation it’s not possible to tell how many would have happened anyway. For the future, we need a clear strategy to increase employer investment in skills as a whole, and in particular for young people and those with lower level qualifications.”

The DfE has been approached for comment.

Latest education roles from

Youth Worker

Youth Worker

Merton College

Meet and Greet Assistant

Meet and Greet Assistant

Barnet and Southgate College

Lecturer – Electrical Installation

Lecturer – Electrical Installation

Merton College

Business Development Consultant

Business Development Consultant

Barnsley College

Lunchtime Supervisor

Lunchtime Supervisor

Lightwoods Primary Academy

Apprentice Development Leader

Apprentice Development Leader

GP Strategies

Sponsored posts

Sponsored post

Why we’re backing our UK skills ‘Olympians’ (and why you should too)

This August, teams from over 200 nations will gather to compete in the sticky heat of the Paris summer...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Is your organisation prepared for a major incident?

We live in an unpredictable world where an unforeseen incident or environmental event could disrupt a Further Education (FE)...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

A new chapter in education protection!

Gallagher is a specialist in the Further Education sector, working with over 75% of Further Education colleges in the...

Advertorial
Sponsored post

Pearson is planting the seed for sustainability talent with new HTQ

Sustainability is rapidly becoming a key organisational goal for many businesses looking to make a difference in society, the...

Advertorial

More from this theme

Apprenticeships, Election 2024

Election 2024: Apprenticeships top of education priority list

But poll suggests support for Conservative and Labour plans for apprenticeships have limited backing

Josh Mellor
Apprenticeships, Election 2024

Blueprint for a phased ‘flex and match’ skills levy unveiled

L&W plan would allow gradual levy flex while protecting the apprenticeship budget in real terms

Billy Camden
Apprenticeships, Ofsted

‘Outstanding’ for Dyson’s axed degree apprenticeships

Dyson says it would prefer to pay £250,000 per student to avoid the "burden" of degree apprenticeship paperwork

Josh Mellor
Apprenticeships, Election 2024

Conservatives pledge 100,000 apprenticeship boost

Pledge comes amid another "crackdown" on "rip-off" university degrees

Shane Chowen

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One comment

  1. Phil Hatton

    Although it is certainly true that incentives do help increase the numbers of younger apprentices, from my experience with providers there are also many employers who are more interested in the monetary bonus than the selection of the best person to meet their needs and be successful on an apprenticeship. An analysis of completion rates for apprenticeships linked to incentives compared to those where no incentives were received would be very interesting but it is certainly a feature of self-assessment reports currently being formulated for the year just ending.