The Chancellor, the Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, has made technical education a pivotal feature of the Budget after declaring that “protecting, creating, and supporting jobs is my highest priority.”
The crucial announcements were:
Extension of the apprenticeship incentive from 1 April to 30 September 2021 and an increase in the payment to £3,000 regardless of the age of the apprentice. (This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the government provides for all new 16-18 year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan, where that applies.)
Supporting apprenticeships across different employers: The Government will introduce a £7 million fund from July 2021 to 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. Employers will be invited to bring forward proposals, and in particular the Creative Industries Council will be asked to do so in recognition of the potential benefits of this new approach for the creative sector.
An additional £126 million to create 40,000 more Traineeships, funding high-quality work placements and training for 16-24 year-olds in the 2021/22 academic year.
In addition, the Government will also pilot new technologies to help people find jobs by investing £1.3 million over 2021/22 and 2022/23 to support individuals to find new job opportunities which are best suited to their skills and experience.
There will also be a new Help to Grow scheme to offer up to 130,000 companies across the UK a digital and management boost.
The Government will offer a new UK-wide management programme to upskill 30,000 SMEs in the UK over three years. Developed in partnership with industry, the programme will combine a national curriculum delivered through business schools with practical case studies and mentoring from experienced business professionals. Over 12 weeks, and 90% subsidised by government, this programme will equip SMEs with the tools to grow their businesses and thrive.
The ‘Red Book’ document highlights that since its inception, the Kickstart scheme has created 120,000 vacancies so far.
Last week the Government also published Build Back Better: our plan for growth – which has a dedicated chapter on skills.