Yesterday afternoon, Rishi Sunak delivered the 2021 spring budget, confirming multiple new investments into the Further Education and skills sector. But what was covered in yesterdays budget regarding the FE sector? From increased funding for apprenticeships & traineeships to a new ‘Help to Grow’ upskilling scheme, we have got you covered.

Incentives for hiring new apprentices extended and doubled.

The current incentives introduced by Sunak in 2020 offering firms £2,000 to take on a new apprentice aged 16 to 24, while those that employ new apprentices aged 25+ are paid £1,500. These incentives were set to end this month, but the chancellor confirmed the extension of the incentives for an additional six months until September 2021. So, from April 1st to 30th September, employers will receive £3,000 per new apprentice hired regardless of their age. This will be on top of the £1,000 payment already offered for new apprentices hired (where applicable), meaning firms could receive up to £4,000 per apprentice.

Further boosts for Traineeships

Sunak announced an additional £126 million in England for high-quality work placements and training for 16- to 24-year-olds in the 2021/22 academic year. Traineeships are intended to get people into their first job after education and last for six weeks up to six months. The government hope to create 40,000 more traineeships with this new investment. Employers who offer traineeship positions will continue to receive £1,000 per trainee. Traineeships are unpaid positions, but trainees are given expenses for travel and meals.

Flexi-Job Apprenticeships

From July 2021, the government pledged to help employers in England set up and expand portable apprenticeships with a £7 million fund. The new “flexi-job’ programme will build greater flexibility into the system for both employers and apprentices, with learners signed up to an agency instead of one single employer. This means they will be able to build and develop their skillsets across different jobs and employers in one sector for example, TV, Media, and Film. From July, employers can bid for the fund to create new agencies, with first flexi-job positions expected to start early in 2022.

Upskilling SMEs: ‘Help to Grow’ Scheme

Yesterday the government announced a new UK-wide management programme for upskilling, which is promised as reports suggest 9 in 10 workers will need new skills by 2030. The programme aims to upskill 30,000 small and medium-sized enterprises across the UK over a three-year period. This scheme will form a national curriculum which will be delivered through business schools, featuring practical case studies, and mentoring from experienced professionals. From June, businesses will be able to access a 12-week programme, designed to be managed alongside full-time work aiming to support business leaders to develop their strategic skills. The key modules are expected to include financial management, innovation, and digital adoption. The ‘Help to Grow’ scheme will be 90% subsidised by the government, with participants charged £750.

For further infomation regarding the budget, you can read the full measures announced by the chancellor here.

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