Government announces apprenticeship reforms

ScreenSkills advocacy for more Apprenticeship Levy flexibilities answered in the Budget.

Cursed © Netflix

ScreenSkills today welcomes the Treasury’s announcement that it will introduce a new flexible programme that should enable more apprenticeships in the screen industries. 

Plans to be announced in the forthcoming Budget will enable people to work for a number of different employers in the same sector.  

The move responds to ScreenSkills’ longstanding calls for greater flexibilities in the apprenticeship system and builds on the apprenticeship programme we have already announced with Warner Bros. and Netflix. 

Following on the Prime Minister’s skills speech in September, the Chancellor's new “flexi-job” apprenticeship programme will link apprentices to an agency instead of a single employer, meaning they will be able to develop their skills by taking on different jobs with multiple employers in one sector. 

Seetha Kumar, ScreenSkills CEO, said: “We welcome the new flexi-job apprenticeship which will enable suitable industry bodies to act as sector agencies. This will make it easier for smaller companies in particular to take on apprentices in the thriving screen industries.  

ScreenSkills is already planning an innovative programme along very similar lines, supported by DCMS, with important industry partners. We look forward to working with government on making this proposal work to support our world-renowned film, television, visual effects, animation and games industries.” 

ScreenSkills intends to bid for funding from a new £7 million fund to create new agencies to manage the new flexi-job apprenticeships which are expected to start in January 2022. 

There will also be increased cash incentives for firms taking on apprenticeshipsCurrently employers receive a cash incentive of £2,000 for each apprentice they hire aged 16-24, and £1,500 for those over the age of 25. From 1 April, the incentive scheme will be simplified and made more generous with a £3,000 payment per hire, regardless of the apprentice’s age. The scheme will also be extended for an extra six months to the end of September. 

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "Our Plan for Jobs has spread opportunity and hope throughout the crisis - helping people back into work and harnessing their talents for the future. We know there’s more to do and it's vital this continues throughout the next stage of our recovery, which is why I’m boosting support for these programmes, helping jobseekers and employers alike.” 

Research shows that the appetite for apprenticeships and work-based learning is rising with 70 percent of employers saying they believe these programmes will be vital to their organisation’s recovery. 

The new measures will also include £126 million of new funding for 40,000 more traineeships. 

ScreenSkills will continue to advocate for more radical reforms on the Apprenticeship Levy, while regarding today’s announcement as a constructive step towards making the apprenticeship system work more effectively. 

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