The Treasury announced on Tuesday 24 November the apprenticeship incentive scheme extension will now carry through until March 2021. This is the only FE and skills sector inclusion from chancellor Rishi Sunak who pledged for the 2021-22 financial year to create and support ‘hundreds of thousands’ of jobs post-COVID.

Sunak’s previous statement from the Summer, revealed from August to January, any firm that hires a new apprentice aged 16-24 would receive £2000 on top of the existing £1000 incentive for 16-18 year-olds, whilst those that hire a new apprentice aged 25 and over would be paid £1,500.

Sunak has now changed the end date, with the extension running until March 2021.

He is also set to confirm that £1.6 billion is being set aside to continue the Kickstart Scheme next year, which is predicted to see the creation of ‘up to 250,000 government-subsidised jobs for young people’.

Sunak intends to 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.

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.’

Chief Executive of the AOC, David Hughes, said: ‘The steps set out for the apprenticeship incentive scheme extension 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.’

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