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Manufacturers urged to take advantage of apprenticeship bonus

Companies are being urged to act quickly to take advantage of new government payments for hiring apprentices, which run until January 2021.

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The scheme, part of the government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ launched in July, offers employers £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for new apprentices aged 25 or over.

These payments are in addition to the existing £1,000 the government already provides for new 16-18 year-old apprentices. Announcing the move in July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:

“We know apprenticeships work. 91 per cent of apprentices stay in work or do further training afterwards. So for the next six months, we’re going to pay employers to create new apprenticeships.”

Among the organisations calling for manufacturers to make the most of the opportunity is the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), part of Innovate UK’s High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult. David Hughes, Managing Director of the MTC’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre, said:

“The new apprentice bonus scheme is a great incentive which can be used alongside other funding opportunities, making apprenticeships an incredibly cost-effective way for business to future proof their workforces by creating the next generation of talented engineers.”

Meanwhile, Britain’s leading manufacturers, unions, training providers and industry bodies are calling for more action to safeguard skills and support apprenticeships in light of COVID-19.

The group - which includes industry stakeholders from the aerospace, food and drink, automotive, chemicals and defence sectors - is calling for a ‘National Skills Taskforce’ to be set up to help re-skill and re-deploy workers into new growth areas as companies look to work differently, bring their supply chains closer to home and enter new markets.

Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK, one of the organisations supporting the call, said:

“Apprentices are the future, and without those skilled workers the country will not be able to take advantage of any upturn when it happens.”

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