Government Cash Boost For Apprenticeships Takes Effect

The government has launched its new cash boost for firms to encourage them to take on new apprentices, worth £3,000 for every individual hired on this basis.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak had announced the enhanced apprenticeship incentive scheme in his Budget in March, which took effect this week (June 1st). It means businesses can now apply for the cash, although the qualification period for it includes any apprentices recruited between April 1st and September 30th this year.

This money comes on top of the finance already available to employers from the government to support training and replaces the previous scheme, which provided a sum of £1,500 for taking on an apprentice aged 25 or older and £2,000 for one aged between 16 and 24. This ran from August 1st last year to March 21st this year.

Mr Sunak said the Covid pandemic had hit young people “especially hard”, meaning there needed to be a focus on helping them get into work as the recovery takes shape.

He added: “By boosting the cash incentives for our apprenticeship scheme we’re improving opportunities for young people to stay in and find work. This could not be more important in our economy’s recovery.”

Minister for apprenticeships and skills Gillian Conway commented: “This cash boost will help even more employers to invest in their future workforce,” adding that apprenticeships will help ensure that “businesses have the skilled talent pipeline they need to thrive, not just today but also in the future”.

The government’s announcement highlighted the case of Abby Swift, a trainee with MTR Elizabeth Line who joined under the scheme in April. After enjoying a successful time with the firm so far, she said it has been a “great opportunity to develop my skills and knowledge,” adding “I would encourage other people to consider it as an option”.

Firms keen to get involved with the scheme may want to contact apprenticeship providers in the UK to see how they can benefit from developing the potential of youngsters who may turn out to be outstanding employees for many years to come.

Companies may be further encouraged by the further investment of £126 million to create another 40,000 apprenticeships for those aged between 16 and 24 in England in the 2021-22 financial year.

Among those supporting apprenticeships is Euan Blair, son of former prime minister Tony.

During his decade in office from 1997 to 2007, Mr Blair senior had increased university places to get 50 per cent of young people into higher education in an attempt to boost social mobility. However Blair Junior, who runs his own training firm, told the Times he felt some of those going to university would be much better off getting an apprenticeship instead.

Pointing to his clients, which include prestigious names like the internet firms Google and Facebook, investment bank Morgan Stanley and law firm Clifford Chance, he commented: “These are jobs that every parent wants their kid fighting for and getting into.”

He concluded: “So when they hear there’s a way you can do that without going to university, that becomes really powerful.”