Sectors including the creative, agriculture and construction industries can now bid for a share of a £7 million fund to support the creation of new flexible apprenticeships, the government has announced.
In this year's Budget, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that there would be payments to firms to encourage them to take on apprentices. Sunak said that payments that are incentives for firms to hire apprentices will be doubled, to £3,000 and there will be £126 million to help people offer trainee shifts to apprentices. He had said this would include "flexi-job apprenticeships". The move is intended to tackle growing youth unemployment. The flexi-job apprenticeships are set to be introduced from January 2022 and will allow workers to work for a number of different employers in a single sector.
Apprenticeships are at least 12 months, so some sectors with flexible employment patterns and short-term roles, such as digital, adult social care, transport and manufacturing have found it challenging to benefit from the high-quality opportunities available.
The fund will establish a small number of agencies that will set up new flexi-job apprenticeships so an apprentice can work across a range of projects and with different employers to gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to be occupationally competent.
For example, this would enable an apprentice working in film, TV or theatre to work on different productions during their apprenticeship, or an apprentice in construction to fulfil several contracts to complete their apprenticeships – such as working on a home refurbishment or a project for an office block. Meanwhile, someone working in adult social care could undertake care placements with a range of employers – including home care through a care agency, and in a nursing home or hospice setting.
Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Gillian Keegan said: "We want to build an apprenticeship system that enables everyone to get the experience and knowledge they require to get the job they want, while ensuring employers have a diverse talent pipeline to meet their skills needs.
"Our flexi-job apprenticeships will unleash exciting new opportunities in sectors such as the creative industries and construction, where employment is increasingly flexible and project-based, while also helping larger organisations to grow starts in their supply chains, levelling up chances for people to build the life they want."
Linda Hausmanis, IWFM CEO welcomed the announcement. She told Facilitate: “Apprentices deserve all the support they can get to achieve their upskilling goals and get access to great jobs. We have long argued for greater flexibility in the use of the apprenticeship levy and welcome the creation of new flexible apprenticeships. As our workplaces evolve to reflect changes to the way we work, it is right that apprentices should be offered the opportunity to learn skills with different employers during their apprenticeship experience.”