A two-month extension is set to be applied to the government’s cash bonus scheme for hiring apprentices in tomorrow’s spending review.
The Treasury has tonight trailed a series of announcements that chancellor Rishi Sunak will pledge for the 2021-22 financial year to create and support “hundreds of thousands” of jobs post-Covid-19, but no other new policies for the FE and skills sector are included.
In the chancellor’s summer statement, he revealed that from August to January, any firm that hires a new young apprentice aged 16 to 24 will receive £2,000 – on top of the existing £1,000 incentive for 16 to 18s – while those that hire new apprentices aged 25 and over will be paid £1,500.
Sunak will extend this apprenticeship incentive scheme to 31 March 2021.
He will also confirm that £1.6 billion is being set aside to continue the “landmark” Kickstart scheme next year, which is predicted to see the creation of “up to 250,000 government-subsidised jobs for young people”.
Sunak will reiterate the government’s commitment to deliver the prime minister’s lifetime skills guarantee, which includes £138 million to pay for extending full funding for a first level 3 qualification to adults over the age of 23, as well as developing the employer-led boot camp training model.
And £127 million has been confirmed to continue the chancellor’s Plan for Jobs skills measures, including traineeships and sector-based work academies.
Sunak said: “My number one priority is to protect jobs and livelihoods across the UK.
“This spending review will ensure hundreds of thousands of jobs are supported and protected in the acute phase of this crisis and beyond with a multi-billion package of investment to ensure that no one is left without hope or opportunity”.
Association of Employment and Learning Providers managing director Jane Hickie said the extension of the apprenticeship hiring incentive “could be an important boost to the recovery efforts, especially among smaller businesses where the first set of incentives has proved particularly attractive”.
Association of Colleges chief executive David Hughes said: “The steps set out are the right things to do given the effects of the pandemic look set to be with us for longer than most people expected. Extending the apprenticeship incentive scheme, Kickstart and traineeships are certainly helpful in the short term and will help to support the increasing numbers of young people that need opportunities.
“The lifetime skills guarantee will open up qualifications to people who need to access training and reskilling opportunities. While colleges stand ready to support more young people and adults, they are eager to see the details so they can plan their offer.”