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Apprentices are a method of training individuals, usually within a skilled profession, whilst they undertake work at the same time. Although they are often perceived as a way into employment for younger people, apprentices are open to all who are aged over 16. The government encourages organisations to use apprentices as a method of creating a skilled workforce.

In England, funding of apprenticeships has been amended in recent years, with the apprenticeship levy introduced for large employers and co-investment introduced for smaller employers.

The Institute for Apprenticeship was launched in 2017 as a non-department public body who aim to create and develop quality apprenticeships.

'Flexi' apprenticeships to be introduced in England

As part of the Spring Budget, the government has confirmed that they will be funding a new type of apprenticeship from July 2021. 

A £7 million fund is to be introduced that will help employers in England set up and expand portable apprenticeships. This will enable people who need to work across multiple projects with different employers to benefit from the high quality long-term training that an apprenticeship provides.

Employers themselves will also benefit from access to a diverse apprenticeship talent pipeline. 

More details as to how this will work in practice are expected soon. 

New apprenticeship incentives announced for coronavirus recovery

On Wednesday 8 July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed several new economic measures to be put in place in order to encourage the recruitment of new apprentices in England. These are as follows:

In the period covering 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021, businesses will be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25. They will also be given £1,000 for every apprentice taken on who is aged 25 and over. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the Government already provides for new 16-18-year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

As part of the Spring Budget, it was announced on 3 March 2021 that this incentive payment will be increased to £3,000 for taking on apprentices of all ages. 

Applications for the payment opened on 1 September 2020, and can be applied for after employers add new apprentices to their apprenticeship service account.  The first payments will be made from January 2021 and will be paid directly into employer’s bank accounts.

Please refer to our in-depth section for more information.