The Government this week launched a £7m fund to support the creation of new flexible apprenticeship opportunities, with sectors including creative, agriculture and construction being invited to bid for a share of the pot.
Apprenticeships are at least 12 months long, 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 current 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.
Organisations can apply for funding between £100,000 and £1 million to set up new flexi-job apprenticeship agencies. It may also support existing good quality apprenticeship training agencies (ATAs) to diversify as flexi-job apprenticeship agencies.
The fund will be a competed grant process and applicants will also have to apply to join the register of flexi-job apprenticeship agencies. Applicants must meet a robust set of criteria as well as being able to provide details of how they will meet the needs of their chosen sector or region, and ensure apprentices and placement employers receive a high-quality apprenticeship experience.
Flexi-job apprenticeships are just one of several improvements the Government is making this year to support employers to offer more apprenticeship opportunities, so more people can get on the path to a great career. These include increased cash incentives for employers hiring new apprentices, and making it easier for employers to spend unused funds – so that smaller businesses in their supply chain or region can benefit from the productivity and skills apprentices can bring to their business.
These improvements build on the reforms set out in the Skills for Jobs White Paper, which will ensure employers are at the heart of plans to make sure more people have the skills they need to progress and secure a great career.
The first apprenticeships organised through flexi-job apprenticeship agencies are expected to start in early 2022.
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.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:
“I’m thrilled that apprentices and employers in freelance industries such as film and TV can start to benefit from our new flexi-job apprenticeship scheme as part of our Plan for Jobs.
“Together, we’re creating exciting new opportunities for apprentices and employers – harnessing the skill and talent of today for the jobs of tomorrow.”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
“It’s hugely exciting that Government is working with some of the world’s leading content producers, as well providing funding to make apprenticeships more flexible. Together, these steps mean many more young people from all backgrounds will have the chance to get a start in the UK’s world-class film and TV industry.”