21 May 2021

Flexible Apprenticeships and 16-19 reforms

On Tuesday 20th April 2021, the Government launched a consultation on its proposals for flexible apprenticeships. Announced as part of the Budget 2021 by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, it is proposed that the new flexible apprenticeship schemes would allow apprentices to work on more than one project and with more than one employer to gain a full range of skills and experience that they would need to complete their programme successfully. The consultation launched invites responses with suggestions as to how the new flexible apprenticeship scheme could be run. Read our latest article below to find out more...

What is the new apprenticeship scheme?

Apprenticeships are at least 12 months long, which has meant that in the past, industries such as agriculture, construction, and the arts (TV, theatre and film) that have more short-term roles have not been able to create apprenticeship opportunities. The new scheme would open doors to many more roles than an apprentice might have previously been able to apply for. Apprenticeships work well for business and for society as a whole and allow people a greater opportunity to do the job they want.

In July 2021, businesses will be invited to bid for a share of a £7m fund which will be used to create and test out a new flexible apprenticeship, the first of which are expected to commence in January 2022. The Creative Industries Council has been involved in discussions with the Department for Education (DfE) around adjusting the apprenticeship levy to give more flexibility which would, in turn, allow creative industries to engage with the apprenticeship programme more fully.

Representatives of the Creative Industries Council have reacted positively to the proposals, describing them as an important step towards achieving the flexibility the creative industries need. Anyone with an interest is urged to play their part in the process and submit a response to the consultation.

The Skills for Jobs white paper published in January 2021 set out reforms to post-16 education and training aimed at supporting people to develop the skills they need for jobs and to improve national productivity. The apprenticeship proposals follow on from the issue of this white paper and build upon the reforms set out therein. The reforms will be supported by the Skills Accelerator programme which was launched by the Education Secretary.

At the same time as the flexible apprenticeship consultation was announced, invitations to apply to become either a Local Skills Improvement Plan trailblazer or be part of the Strategic Development Fund pilot were issued. The Local Skills Improvement Plans are to be piloted in trailblazer areas during 2021-22 and led by employer representative bodies. These plans should:

  • bring together employers, colleges and other training providers, and other local stakeholders
  • set out the changes which will be required to make the training for technical skills more responsive to the needs of employers
  • tailor the provision to the opportunities and challenges of the local area

The government has set aside £4m to fund the Local Skills Improvement Plan trailblazers.

The Strategic Development Fund has been created to explore how training providers can work more closely with one another and alongside employers to respond to the skills and innovation priorities identified by the Local Skills Improvement Plans. Pilots will run in a number of areas across the country and could be run even if there isn't a Local Skills Improvement Plan trailblazer in that area.

A total fund of £65m has been set aside for the Strategic Development Fund which is expected to enable activities which have an immediate benefit and that encourage further development in future years. Activities that could be funded should also assist in building capacity to respond to local priorities going forward.

We can help you!

We can help you and your business during gain the maximum benefits of apprenticeships. Contact our Director, Nick Bonnello, directly on 0115 964 8860 or email him at nickb@rwbca.co.uk to find out how we can help you across all areas of your business.

The views provided in this article are for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article represents advice of any nature whatsoever. Accordingly, RWB CA Limited does not accept any liability or responsibility for the information contained in this article or any decision or other action that may be taken in reliance upon the information contained within it. RWB CA Limited accepts no responsibility for any errors of fact or opinion and assumes no obligation to provide you with any changes to its assumptions.