Thursday, November 17, 2011

News: Government boost for apprenticeships and skills


The government has announced new measures to ensure more young people benefit from an apprenticeship, and to help employers gain the skilled workers they need to grow.

Small firms of up to 50 employees that don't currently hire apprentices will be offered an incentive payment of up to £1,500. An initial payment will be made two months after the individual has started their apprenticeship; the balance will be paid after the apprenticeship has been completed and the trainee has progressed into sustainable employment.

Ministers hope that this will support up to 20,000 new apprenticeships in 2012/13.

In a bid to cut red tape, the National Apprenticeships Service and training providers will be required to ensure that every employer is in a position to advertise a vacancy within one month of deciding to take on an apprentice.

Apprenticeship providers will also be required to offer training in English and Maths up to the standard of a good GCSE for all apprenticeships and there will be a renewed focus on targeting the programme where apprenticeships deliver greatest value.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "The apprenticeships programme is a success story, with record numbers of learners starting an apprenticeship this year. But I have listened to employers, and will go further to ensure that investment is targeted where impact is greatest, delivering the specific skills businesses need to drive growth.

"Apprenticeships are proven to boost the life chances of young people, and are a sound investment in our future competitiveness. So when times are tough, it's right that we provide additional support to help the smallest firms meet training costs."

The Prime Minister has also launched a £250m pilot plan to help businesses design, develop and purchase the vocational training programme they need.

The competitive fund will route public investment directly to employers and will be backed by significant resources from existing skills budgets. Funding for 2012/13 will be up to £50m, with an additional £200m in the second year - subject to evidence of high-quality proposals from employers and ongoing evaluation.

It will test different approaches, come up with new ways of engaging employees and potential employees, other firms and their supply chains to develop news ways of investing in skills, and working with the further education and skills sector.

It will be open to collaborative proposals from businesses of all sizes and from all sectors of the economy. Bids will need to demonstrate how public investment will leverage private investment, support Apprenticeships and show a commitment to raising skills levels in their sector or supply chain.

BIS website


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