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Question for Department for Education

UIN HL1332, tabled on 22 June 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the National Foundation for Educational Research Putting Apprenticeships to Work for Young People, published on 16 June; and what steps they are taking to increase apprenticeship course start rates outside of London.

Answered on

6 July 2021

The government recognises the challenges that the COVID-19 outbreak has caused for young people who are looking to enter the labour market and to small-medium enterprises (SMEs) who want to recruit an apprentice, as highlighted in the National Foundation for Education Research report. Through our Plan for Jobs, we are committed to providing young people with the tools they need to begin and progress in their careers. We are supporting businesses across the country to meet their skills needs, now and in the future.

Through our apprenticeship support and knowledge programme, we are promoting apprenticeships in schools across the country and providing free resources and interventions to encourage young people to undertake an apprenticeship.

We are supporting the largest-ever expansion of traineeships to ensure that more young people have access to high-quality training to develop the skills, experience, and confidence to obtain an apprenticeship. We have started to deliver the first-ever occupational traineeships developed alongside trade bodies and employers in construction and rail engineering. We will continue to create more occupational traineeship opportunities in the adult care sector over the summer. These occupational traineeships will be aligned to apprenticeship standards and will significantly increase opportunities for young people to progress into apprenticeships or other employment. To support employers who are offering traineeship placements we have extended the £1,000 incentive payment until July 2022.

The Kickstart Scheme is investing £2 billion to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6 month work placements for eligible 16–24 year olds. We are working with the Department for Work and Pensions to support young people on Kickstart placements to progress to apprenticeships where this is right for them and their employers.

SMEs will play a key role in increasing apprenticeship opportunities for young people as we rebuild from the effects of COVID-19. As of 1 April, all new apprenticeship starts will be through the apprenticeship service. This will give SMEs more control over their apprenticeship choices and give them the ability to reserve funds before choosing the provider that best meets their needs. In August, we will also introduce a new online service to help levy paying employers find SMEs to transfer their levy funds to support apprenticeships in their supply chains and help to meet local and regional skills needs.

We have seen more employers across the country recruiting apprentices outside of London. Since May 2010, there have been over 578,980 more apprenticeship starts in the North of England (North East, North West & Yorkshire) than London and South East. We continue to encourage employers of all sizes across England to take on new apprentices by increasing the incentive payment to £3,000 for every new apprentice they hire until 31 September 2021.