Never a better time to invest in apprenticeships 

Firms across the Liverpool city region are being urged by the Skills Brokerage Service to take advantage of the new incentives for apprenticeships announced in the Budget. Tony McDonough reports

work, construction, building, apprentice, training, skills, apprenticships, industry
work, construction, building, apprentice, training, skills, apprenticships, industry


Apprenticeships have long been one of the best ways to upskill your workforce and now Chancellor Rishi Sunak has offered even more incentives to train your staff.

In his Budget in March, Mr Sunak unveiled an extra £126m for apprenticeships. And, with the help of a free service provided by the Liverpool City Region Skills Brokerage Service, you can start the process of raising the skill levels of your employees today.

The Skills Brokerage Service is part of Growth Platform, the city region’s growth company. This is an expert team of skills brokers who can explain how employers can access funding, identify the right apprenticeship standard and find the right training provider to deliver the training. saving businesses, large and small, time and money.

And, thanks to the extra measures outlined in the Budget, there has never been a better time to reap the rewards of apprenticeships. They include:

A doubling of cash incentives

Apprenticeship financial incentives were introduced in August 2020. They offered employers £2,000 to take on apprentices aged 16 to 24, while those that employ new apprentices aged 25 and over are paid £1,500.

Those bonuses were meant to be a temporary measure but have now been extended until September 2021. Any employers who hire a new apprentice between April 1, 2021, and September 30, 2021, will receive £3,000 per new hire, regardless of the apprentice’s age.

This is in addition to the £1,000 payment already provided for new apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those under 25 with an education, health and care plan. Some employers could therefore receive up to £4,000.

Work placements

The Government will fund “high quality” work placements and training for 16-to 24-year-olds in the 2021/22 academic year. The aim is to encourage a further 40,000 traineeship starts in 2022. Employers who provide trainees with work experience will continue to be offered £1,000 per trainee. This adds to the £111m to triple the number of traineeships.

Portable apprenticeships

From July 2021, the Government will open up a £7m fund to help firms establish and expand ‘portable apprenticeships’. This will enable continuity of training for people who need to work across multiple projects with different employers, such as in the TV and film industry. The Treasury is calling this scheme ‘flexi-job” apprenticeships’. The first of these are expected to start in January 2022.

Upskilling SMEs

Announced in the Budget, the Government has set aside £135m for the ext three years to offer a new UK-wide management programme to upskill 30,000 small and medium-sized enterprises over three years.

The Treasury document states: “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.

work, office, apprentice, training, skills, apprenticships, industry
Apprenticeships are available in a wide variety of sectors


“Over 12 weeks, and 90% subsidised by the Government, this programme will equip SMEs with the tools to grow their businesses and thrive.”

The new measures announced in the Budget have the backing of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). It had previously called for flexi-job apprenticeships and said the increase in incentives for employers was key to increasing the take-up of apprenticeships.

The Be More Apprenticeship Portal also offers Liverpool City Region-based employers the opportunity to advertise their apprenticeship vacancies, free of charge, and there is no need to register or create an account before doing so.

The Skills Brokerage Service is one-stop-shop where businesses can find a wealth of advice and support on all funding available for skills across the Liverpool City Region and can even provide up to70% of training costs for training required by employers which wouldn’t be funded through any other publicly funded route.

If you are an employer in the City Region looking for skills or apprenticeship advice and/or funding then you can register here. This service is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and Strategic Investment Fund (SIF).

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