During the Budget 2021, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced there would be a £7m fund to run ‘Flexi-job apprenticeships’ in some sectors. These sectors would be those that are likely to provide shorter periods of work such as freelance projects over several weeks in creative or projects within the construction industry that may only be a few months.

These new Flexi-job apprenticeships will begin in January 2022 and allow people to work for numerous employers within one sector across the length of their apprenticeship. There will be a fund open from July 2021, enabling employers to bid for money from the £7m pot to create new agencies enabling the delivery of these types of apprenticeships.

The Flexi-job model had previously been mentioned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a speech in 2020, after a meeting with ministers and influential skills advisor Professor Alison Wolf, after which the government decided the plan should go ahead.

Where work is often sparce in consistency, Flexi-job apprenticeships create an opportunity for these types of learner’s to learn from various employers, centred around similar roles and work experience. Rather than waiting weeks between job offerings, the learner will be able to work within the employers network of apprenticeship options to continue their apprenticeship across the year or longer.

Head of Policy at ScreenSkills, Mark Heholt told FE Week that the creative sector particularly faces problems that are “not unique but it is particularly stark.” The FE Skills whitepaper published in January also mentioned that creative and construction sectors face ‘barriers making full use of apprenticeships due to their varied and flexible employment patterns.’

Much of what has been announced regarding this new style of apprenticeships and the agencies that will be involved is similar to the existing models already out there, such as ATA and GTA.

Heholt continued in his conversation with FE Week that the models available did not offer the processes that would be needed for this type of apprenticeship, whereby multiple placements, over the course of one apprenticeship, are conjoined including the costs and complexity of planning.

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