We welcome the announcement today that the Chancellor is not only extending the cash bonus scheme for hiring Apprentices for another six months but also doubling the amount that is available to Employers taking on Apprentices aged 25 and over to £3,000
In an ideal world, government incentive schemes of this kind would not be needed. The middle of a third lockdown in a global pandemic is clearly not an ideal time.
This government incentive scheme should be seen for what it is. For the vast majority of Employers, it will be the persuasion that gets them over the line to taking on a new Apprentice. I hope it is used by Employers that were already thinking about taking on Apprentices but who, in their current financial position, just need that bit of extra support to cover the very real and often sizeable incremental costs of employing an Apprentice.
The ‘bonus’ will not be the reason that they recruit Apprentices. They will recruit Apprentices because they have taken on board the very real benefits of increased productivity and profitability that Apprentices bring and appreciate the need to build an Employee base that better reflects their customers.
Across the economy, Apprenticeship starts were obviously going to be down over the last year. Expecting Employers battling with declining or disappearing markets to consider taking on new recruits or investing in the development of their existing staff was always going to be a struggle.
Through sheer hard work and determination, we at SR Apprenticeships have achieved a healthy number of starts over the last few months. I’m also really pleased that we have got to know more Employers and spent time thinking with them about the future – particularly working with companies that have adapted their business to respond to the changing economy in which we find ourselves.
For many of our larger clients this means cohorts of new recruit and existing Employee starts in late spring and early summer while our smaller clients are building their workforces using recent school or colleges leavers bringing a different set of skills than they have previously seen.
We’re delighted to be working with all of them and playing our part in rebuilding the economy bit by bit as we hopefully emerge from the darkness of this pandemic.