Consultation launched to create flexible apprenticeships

The government is consulting on plans to launch a flexible apprenticeship programme to cover sectors including creative, agriculture and construction industries

The consultation seeks views on how new flexi-job apprenticeship schemes could be run. Apprenticeships are at least 12 months long, so some sectors with flexible employment patterns and short-term roles, such as agriculture, construction and creative sectors including TV, film and theatre production, have found it difficult to create enough opportunities.

In July employers will be invited to bid for a share of a £7m fund to create and test new flexi-apprenticeships schemes, with the first approved flexi-job apprenticeships expected to start in January 2022.

Announced by the Chancellor at the Budget in March, the new flexi-job apprenticeship schemes would enable an apprentice to work across a range of projects and with different employers to gain the full skills and experience they need to complete their programme. This could include film, TV and theatre production, with one apprentice now being able to work on different productions during their apprenticeship.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: ‘Our flexi-job apprenticeships will boost opportunities in sectors like the creative industries where employment is often flexible or short term - creating even more chances for people to experience the life changing opportunity an apprenticeship can bring as we build back better from the pandemic.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: ‘We know apprenticeships work - which is why they’re a central plank of our Plan for Jobs. The new flexi-job scheme will create more opportunities for apprentices across England, giving them the hope, skills and experience to progress their career and drive our recovery from the pandemic.

Stephen Page, executive chair at Faber & Faber, said: ‘The Creative Industries Council is pleased with the ongoing discussions with DfE over finding and implementing flexibilities to the Apprenticeship Levy, to enable our dynamic sector to engage with the vital apprenticeship programme. This consultation on portable and flexi-apprenticeships is a welcome part of that process, and we would urge interested parties across the creative industries sector to respond and help guide this next step in the process.’

The consultation builds on the reforms set out in the Skills for Jobs white paper. This will be supported through a new Skills Accelerator programme. Launched by the Education Secretary, the programme will help build stronger partnerships between local employer groups, such as Chambers of Commerce, colleges and other providers to make sure communities are getting the training needed to meet local skills gaps. Those interested will have access to a £65 million fund to develop and deliver plans in pilot areas in 2021-22.

In a bid to increase the number of apprenticeships being offered, the government is already offering cash incentives for employers of £3,000 for each new apprentice they take on until the end of September.

The consultation closes for comment on 1 June.

DfE consultation, Flexi-job apprenticeships: reshaping the role of apprenticeship training agencies

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