Chancellor’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ boost for apprenticeships: ‘Now’s the time to take this opportunity,’ IWFM tells employers

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10 July 2020

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On Wednesday 8 July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak used his Summer Economic Update to Parliament to announce a new ‘Plan for Jobs’: measures aimed at supporting, creating and protecting jobs to help the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

From 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021, employers in England will be entitled to new payments of £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire aged under-25, and £1,500 for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over. These payments will be in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the Government already provides for new 16 to 18-year-old apprentices, and those aged under-25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan (where that applies).

As long-time advocates of the opportunities that apprenticeships can offer, we welcome this additional funding which comes at a crucial time for the apprenticeship and skills system. Following widespread criticism that the Apprenticeship Levy is not meeting the needs of employers and is being used to upskill existing workers rather than to create new roles, IWFM understands that the Department for Education (DfE) is currently reviewing proposed changes to the apprenticeship programme.

Our research has found that organisations within the profession regard apprenticeships as key to the talent pipeline and part of the solution to bridging the industry’s skills gap.

However, the IWFM 2019 Market Outlook Survey found that the uptake of apprenticeships was relatively low among private sector clients. Those respondents were also more likely to say ‘no’ when asked whether they offer apprenticeships to current employees or whether they intended to employ apprentices over the next 12 months.

Responses as to why organisations did not currently offer apprenticeships varied, but included not having a requirement for them, it was not company policy, or that they did not have the time and resources required to employ an apprentice.

We are encouraged by the Government’s focus on skills and young people; we hope that, at a time of great opportunity for our profession, many more organisations will be incentivised to take up this opportunity.

The DfE and National Apprenticeship Service are holding a roundtable to outline the different initiatives in greater detail. We will keep members informed in due course on these developments and on the Chancellor’s wider recovery proposals, including those relating to energy efficiency and the green economy.

The Chancellor also announced a Job Retention Bonus (a one-off payment of £1,000 to businesses for each furloughed worker employed until 31 January 2021) and a £2 billion Kickstart Scheme which will subsidise new jobs for those aged 16 to 24 and claiming Universal Credit (at the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours per week for six months).

If you would like to share your views or experiences of apprenticeships in FM, please email: policy@iwfm.org.uk

Full details of the Plan for Jobs 2020 can be found here.

You can find out more about apprenticeships via IWFM, please click here.