Anne Milton MP, a Government education minister, has updated Parliament on efforts to reform apprenticeships. The Government has undertaken a range of improvements to apprenticeships in England and Wales, which is part of its wider efforts to boost productivity and train young people for long and fulfilling careers.
To encourage more apprenticeship starts, the Government provides £1,000 payments to both employers and providers when taking on a 16 to 18 year old apprentice. It also pays 100 per cent of the cost of training for small employers (fewer than 50 employees) who take on a 16 to 18 year old apprentice. This also applies to 19 to 24 year olds who were in care or who have an Education, Health and Care plan. In addition, from August 2018, a bursary will be introduced for care leavers starting apprenticeships. This bursary will be £1,000, available to all care leavers aged 16 to 24 year olds and paid direct to them.
Apprenticeships disproportionately benefit people from lower socio-economic backgrounds – they help people from these backgrounds gain the skills and training they need to build successful careers. The Government provides additional funding support for individuals from disadvantaged areas, by providing a cash payment to providers for training apprentices on frameworks who live in the top 27 per cent of deprived areas.
In addition, the Government is attempting to increase the take up of degree apprenticeships through the Degree Apprenticeship Development Fund. The scheme funds a range of projects, including those that encourage the participation of under-represented groups in disadvantaged areas.
To promote apprenticeships and encourage take up at all levels, the Government are targeting employers, parents and young people through a range of marketing activities. The latest phase of the ‘Get in Go Far’ marketing campaign will launch shortly. There is also work ongoing with organisations that provide career advice and schools in order to encourage young people into apprenticeships.