Businesses that have struggled to create apprenticeships due to the prevalence of short-term contracts are now set to benefit from a fund to launch more flexible training opportunities.
A new £7 million fund will establish agencies to set up more flexible apprenticeships in fields dominated by short-term contracts, including the creative, agricultural and construction industries. The new program will allow an apprentice to complete their training across a range of projects and with multiple employers but with a consistent training provider.
The change comes in order to boost apprenticeships and high-quality training opportunities in fields where a traditional, 12-month program would not be viable.
Under the flexible apprenticeships, an apprentice working in film, TV or theatre could work on different productions during their training, or an apprentice in construction could fulfil several contracts on different build types to complete their studies.
Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Gillian Keegan said:
We want to build an apprenticeship system that enables everyone to get the experience and knowledge they require to get the job they want, while ensuring employers have a diverse talent pipeline to meet their skills needs.
Our flexi-job apprenticeships will unleash exciting new opportunities in sectors such as the creative industries and construction where employment is increasingly flexible and project-based, while also helping larger organisations to grow starts in their supply chains, levelling up chances for people to build the life they want.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:
I’m thrilled that apprentices and employers in freelance industries such as film and TV can start to benefit from our new flexi-job apprenticeship scheme as part of our Plan for Jobs.
Together, we’re creating exciting new opportunities for apprentices and employers – harnessing the skill and talent of today for the jobs of tomorrow.
The response to a consultation the Government launched in April 2021 has also been published this week, which highlights strong support for the introduction of flexible apprenticeships as well as wider flexibilities in apprenticeships.
The creative industry in particular has welcomed the move. Jocelyne Underwood from the Manchester International Festival, said:
In the creative sector there is a huge will to do apprenticeships but very little experience. This fund should spur the market on as a catalyst.”