Steve Allen 4am - 7am
Budget 2021: Traineeships set to receive £126 million boost
26 February 2021, 22:38
Traineeships are set to get a £126 million boost when Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces his Budget next week.
The extra funding will help to create an additional 40,000 traineeships in England, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will tell MPs on Wednesday.
Mr Sunak is also expected to promise an increased cash incentive of £3,000 for employers who hire an apprentice, regardless of the worker's age.
Businesses can currently claim £2,000 for each apprentice they take on between the age of 16 and 24, or £1,500 if they hire someone over the age of 25.
The chancellor will also introduce new "flexi-job" apprenticeships that will allow trainees to develop their skills with a range of employers from a particular industry.
The measure aims to link the young workers to an agency, rather than a single employer, so they can gain experience from a number of relevant organisations.
From July, employers will be able to bid for money from a £7 million kitty to create new agencies, with the first batch of apprenticeships expected to commence in January 2022.
Ministers believe the scheme will most likely be picked up in sectors with flexible working patterns, such as the television and film industries.
The policy comes amid concerns that young people have been hit particularly hard by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Sunak said: "Our plan for jobs has spread opportunity and hope throughout the crisis, helping people back into work and harnessing their talents for the future.
"We know there's more to do and it's vital this continues throughout the next stage of our recovery, which is why I'm boosting support for these programmes, helping job seekers and employers alike."
Association of Colleges chief executive David Hughes welcomed the investment but said it would not be enough to help build the country back "fairer and better" after the pandemic.
"It is vital that we continue to find ways to support young people who are amongst those hardest hit by the pandemic, but we must also ensure colleges have the flexibility and funding certainty to be able to meet skills needs more widely over the next few years," he said.
"These short term measures are helpful, but not sufficient if we are to successfully build back fairer and better."