Plans to be announced in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s upcoming budget are expected to increase flexibility for apprenticeships in the screen industries.

The Treasury has announced that it will introduce a new flexible programme that will enable people to work for a number of different employers in the same sector.

The move responds to ScreenSkills’ longstanding calls for greater flexibilities in the apprenticeship system and builds on the apprenticeship programme already announced with Warner Bros. and Netflix.

Following on the Prime Minister’s skills speech in September, the Chancellor’s new “flexi-job” apprenticeship programme will link apprentices to an agency instead of a single employer, meaning they will be able to develop their skills by taking on different jobs with multiple employers in one sector.

Seetha Kumar, ScreenSkills CEO, said: “We welcome the new flexi-job apprenticeship which will enable suitable industry bodies to act as sector agencies. This will make it easier for smaller companies in particular to take on apprentices in the thriving screen industries.

“ScreenSkills is already planning an innovative programme along very similar lines, supported by DCMS, with important industry partners. We look forward to working with government on making this proposal work to support our world-renowned film, television, visual effects, animation and games industries.”

ScreenSkills intends to bid for funding from a new £7 million fund to create new agencies to manage the new flexi-job apprenticeships which are expected to start in January 2022.

There will also be increased cash incentives for firms taking on apprenticeships. Currently employers receive a cash incentive of £2,000 for each apprentice they hire aged 16-24, and £1,500 for those over the age of 25. From 1 April, the incentive scheme will be simplified and made more generous with a £3,000 payment per hire, regardless of the apprentice’s age. The scheme will also be extended for an extra six months to the end of September.

The Chancellor Rishi 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 jobseekers and employers alike.”

Research shows that the appetite for apprenticeships and work-based learning is rising with 70 percent of employers saying they believe these programmes will be vital to their organisation’s recovery.

The new measures will also include £126 million of new funding for 40,000 more traineeships.

 

 

Jon Creamer