The Government has released a series of policy papers that apply to apprentices starting on or after 1st August 2020.
This policy paper sets out the policy for apprenticeship funding in England, for new starts from 1st August 2020. This document also contains links to the funding bands for individual standards and the apprenticeship funding rules that explain in greater detail how this funding policy will work practically and the expectations of employers and training providers.
The policy paper acknowledges the benefits apprenticeships have on business and the future workforce; those that already offer apprenticeships see them as “beneficial to their long-term success”. Hiring an apprentice enables businesses to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled workforce. The report also acknowledges the important role apprenticeships will have in the post Covid-19 economic recovery, helping businesses to recruit and develop the skills they need to respond to the current economic climate and labour market. This updated policy aims to “support and protect current apprentices” as well as helping employers “rebuild and maintain” the flow of new apprenticeships.
Supporting current apprentices
The Government will extend some of the flexibilities put in place to support apprentices and employers whilst they are being impacted by the coronavirus and the processes put in place to protect people’s health. This includes information on those who have been furloughed, made redundant and end point assessment, as well as the flexibilities around the apprenticeship levy. More information can be found here.
Supporting employers during the economic recovery
1. Incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice.
The Government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’: an incentive payment will be made to employers who hire an apprentice between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021. There are specific conditions including start dates, previous employment with the company and age. There is no limit on the number of grants one business can receive.
2. Increasing the number of reservations for employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy.
Those who do not pay the apprenticeship levy have been able to reserve funds since January 2020. The number of ‘active’ or ‘used’ reservations available will increase from 3 to 10. This enables non-levy paying employers to recruit an increased number of apprentices.
3. All new apprenticeship starts on standards from 1 August 2020.
All new apprenticeship starts must be on standards to drive up the quality. There are now over 550 apprenticeship standards that have been designed by employers to meet their skills needs.
4. Funding policy from the 1st August 2020
This will apply to all employers, both those paying the levy and those who do not. Any apprenticeships that started before this date will continue to be funded under the rules that applied when the apprenticeship started.
There are 30 funding bands ranging from £1,500 to £27,000, each applied to the standards mentioned above. The upper limit of each funding band represents the maximum amount of funds that an employer who pays the levy can use towards an individual apprenticeship from their apprenticeship service account. In those not paying the levy it is the maximum amount the Government will co-invest.
A full copy of the policy paper can be found here -there are also useful links within the policy paper that go into further details.