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JTL welcomes the new skills investments announced in the spring budget

The leading work-based training provider in England and Wales, JTL, has welcomed the increased incentives for apprenticeships and traineeships announced in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spring budget, in the hope they will support employers to take on apprentices. 

The financial incentives introduced as part of the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs last year, offered employers £2,000 to take on apprentices aged 16 to 24 and £1,500 for those aged 25 and over. Following the Budget, these bonuses have been extended for a further six months to the end of September. Furthermore, any employers who hire a new apprentice between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021 will receive £3,000 per new hire, regardless of the apprentice’s age.

Caroline Turner, Director of Policy & External Relations at JTL, comments: “Although details of how the extension will work in practice have yet to be announced, the increase in employer incentives to take on an apprentice can only be good news and as a result, we hope to see a rise in earlier recruitment for 2021/22 starts. These government changes may also mean that we see more older applicants who are perhaps looking for a change of career amid the impact of the on-going pandemic. It is disappointing however, that the government hasn’t taken into account that longer-duration apprenticeships should be recognised with a higher level of incentive”. 

Sunak has also pledged an additional £126 million in England for “high quality” work placements and training for 16- to 24-year-olds in the 2021/22 academic year, which is hoped to attract a further 40,000 Traineeship starts next year. Traineeships, a programme offered by JTL, are designed to help young people who want to get an apprenticeship or job but do not yet have the appropriate skills or experience. 

Caroline Turner continues: “In order to meet the chronic shortage of trade professionals, as a result of an ageing workforce, the impact of Covid-19, as well as reduced levels of European skilled labour, the UK must urgently expand its trade apprenticeship schemes. Therefore, it is positive to see that the government is acknowledging the importance of apprenticeships in helping the UK economy recover post Covid-19. At such a crucial time, we want to encourage both learners and employers to take advantage of these grants to help build for a better future”.