Set against the backdrop of COVID-19 and the biggest economic contraction in 300 years, you may think that the Autumn Spending Review would have little to offer. Instead, Chancellor Rishi Sunak used today’s announcement to outline spending aimed at getting people back to work – and on to apprenticeships.
Of particular note, the Chancellor announced a £375m skills package. This will include £138m in funding to help deliver Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee.
In September, Johnson outlined how the Lifetime Skills Guarantee would “transform the training and skills system, making it fit for the 21st-century economy”.
For apprenticeships, this means:
- Increased apprenticeship opportunities
- Increased funding for SMEs to take on apprentices
- Greater flexibility in the structure of apprenticeship training
The Lifetime Skills Guarantee also aims to:
- Provide everyone with flexible, lifelong entitlement to four years of technical education
- Fund technical courses for adults
- Upgrade FE colleges with capital investment
- Enable FE Colleges to access funding on the same terms as universities
Sunak also promised funding for the Plan for Jobs scheme, with £1.6bn set aside for the Kickstart work placement programme. This programme is expected to create up to 250,000 state-subsidised jobs for young people.
Under the Plan for Jobs, employers can apply for:
- £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25
- £1,500 for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 or over
For full details of the scheme click here.
The increased apprenticeship funding goes hand in hand in with the Chancellor’s headline focus on returning people to work.
Ahead of the Autumn Spending Review the Chancellor promised a £4.6bn package to help unemployed people get back to work.
This will include £2.9bn for Restart; a new jobs scheme. This will support people who have been out of work for more than 12 months by providing them with intensive support tailored to their circumstances.
There will be tough times ahead for us all. The Chancellor’s focus on skills and development highlights the continued importance of apprenticeships when it comes to getting the country back to work.