It was reassuring to hear the Chancellor use his address to the Tory Party conference to back apprenticeships.
Rishi Sunak announced he was set to continue to incentivise the hiring of new apprentices and extend the Kickstart scheme.
Measures announced by the Chancellor include the potential £3,000 “bonus” for every apprentice a business hires which was to end in September but will now not end until January 2022. Kickstart had been due to end this year, but the announcement will see a continuation of the scheme that subsidises job placements for young people on universal credit, this will now end in March 2022.
Hopefully the UK economy will be in a better position by then as the bounce-back from COVID continues.
These short-term measures are to be welcomed, of course, and will prove invaluable as we try and attract more businesses to engage with apprenticeships, but with the country recovering from one of the worst economic shocks in modern history.
The Chancellor said that 85,000 apprentices – the figure at the end of September – have been newly-hired under his new incentive payments and that funding for around 100,000 new starts had been set aside via his Plan for Jobs scheme.
Well, if we are to “build back better” every one of those apprenticeships will be required, and a great deal more.
-George Ritchie MBE, NEAAN Chair