Major reforms to apprenticeships announced

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The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has announced reforms that will enable up to 20,000 more apprenticeships and could be especially welcome news to small businesses.

With effect from 1st April 2024 the Government will pay the full cost of training for anyone up to the age of 21, as part of an investment package of £60 million.

Small businesses will no longer need to contribute to training costs, which may mean that taking on an apprentice becomes more viable. 

Education providers will also benefit as they currently need to source funding both from businesses and the government.

Changes are also being made to the amount of funding that employers who are paying the apprenticeship levy can pass on to other businesses. This has been increased from 25% to 50%.

Gillian Keegan, Education Secretary, said of the reforms ‘Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for businesses to develop the skills they need, and these new measures will help more businesses and young people benefit from them.’

Martin McTague, National Chair at the Federation of Small Businesses, said ‘We have campaigned for more levy-paying businesses to be able to transfer their funds to small businesses in their supply chain, and for crucial support on costs, so we’re pleased to see the Prime Minister make this intervention today. 

Time and resources are in short supply for small businesses and so increasing the amount of funding for training costs will help to improve the number of small firms entering the apprenticeship system.

Apprenticeships are an effective way of allowing small firms to recruit and up-skill talented people and these measures are a positive way to bolster the number of businesses taking on apprentices.’

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