BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT (the leading end-point assessor for digital apprenticeships) explores the incentives from the Spring 2021 budget and how employers can start benefitting from government support for training.

During the recent budget, amongst the headlines for skills and the tech sector, Chancellor Rishi Sunak made technical education a pivotal feature of protecting jobs and the economy, announcing:

Apprenticeships - Increased cash incentive from April 2021, increasing to £3,000 for employers who take on an apprentice between April and September - regardless of the apprentice’s age. 

This is in addition to the £1,000 payment already provided for new apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan, meaning that some employers could receive £4,000 in total.  

Apprenticeship financial incentives were first introduced in August 2020 and currently offer firms £2,000 to take on apprentices aged 16-24 while those that employ new apprentices aged 25 and over are paid £1,500. Although this scheme was initially expected to end in January 2021, these payments have now been extended for new apprentices hired before 31st March 2021 (although organisations still have until the end of April to apply).

Flexi job - New ‘flexi-job’ apprenticeship from January 2022. Supporting apprenticeships across different employers.

Flexi-job apprenticeships are set to be introduced from January 2022 and will allow workers to work for a number of different employers in a single sector. This will see individuals linked with an agency as opposed to a single employer. From July, employers will be able to bid for money from a £7 million fund to create new agencies. These ‘portable’ apprenticeships already exist in the Construction sector and expanding this approach will enable people who work across multiple projects with different employers, such as in the TV and film industries, to ‘benefit from the high-quality long-term training that an apprenticeship provides’. 

Digital apprenticeships - building business future

Taking on apprentices is a highly practical and cost-effective way for organisations to develop and motivate their workforce. In addition to qualified employees, apprenticeships deliver many other far-reaching business benefits including lower recruitment costs, greater staff satisfaction and improved retention rates.

The digital IT apprenticeship standards are developed by employers for employers to support the very latest real-world digital strategies. Apprenticeship programmes last between 12 and 24 months and include both on- and off-the-job training in occupations that are vital for success in today’s technology landscape. They also provide the added benefit of tailoring the training around your unique business requirements.

Whether it’s strengthening your infrastructure or managing business change, identifying cyber threats or driving marketing and sales, digital IT apprenticeships offer the core technical competencies that organisations need in the digital age, combined with the attitudes and behaviours that build a winning team.

Quality - BCS, leading the way in technical excellence 

BCS is the leading end-point assessment organisation dedicated to the IT profession, and will work closely with you at every step in your great apprenticeship journey to help you build the right training programme for your organisation so you can grow your business through technology innovation.

By partnering with the professional body for IT, you set your apprentices on the defined route to trusted IT professional - supported  by an exclusive learning package and robust end-point assessment, as well as BCS membership and professional registration for every successful candidate.

BCS has launched a ‘Doing What you Love’ campaign to gather stories from current and previous digital apprentices to help them share the pride they take in their career with other aspiring IT professionals.

Traineeships - £126m boost for traineeships in England to potentially enable 40,000 more traineeships.

Traineeships are skills development programmes aimed at people aged 16 and 24, with a duration of 6 weeks up to one year, regarded as a Level 1 pre-apprenticeship pathway. Employers who provide trainees with work experience will continue to be funded at a rate of £1,000 per trainee, capped to 10 claims. This builds on the £111 million the chancellor set aside in 2020/2021 to triple the number of traineeships.  

Education - Investing in the future

The government has made available £3 billion in education funding in England across 2020-2022. This is to support the ‘catch-up’ on lost learning due to COVID-19, but also for skills and training measures to help young people and adults get into work.

Help to grow scheme - expanding the pathways to education and training

In addition to the ongoing support for targeted boot camps for adults to build ‘in-demand’ technical skills, there was more in the budget around stimulating jobs and the associated pathways and training required.

To tackle the digital skills’ gap among SMEs, the government announced a ‘Help to Grow’ scheme, to be launched in autumn 2021. The programme will have two components; to help SMEs adopt and deploy digital technology and services effectively, and also to provide training delivered through business schools and mentoring from experienced professionals working in the sector. 

130,000 small and medium sized businesses will be supported through this scheme, with the aim of providing the digital skills and resources needed to innovate, grow and help drive recovery. The Budget states: ‘Over 12 weeks, and 90 per cent subsidised by government, this programme will equip SMEs with the tools to grow their businesses and thrive.’

The Budget’s costing document shows the government has set aside £60 million for this scheme in 2021-22 and then £75 million for 2022-23.

The government will also pilot new technologies to help people find jobs by investing £1.3 million over 2021/22 and 2022/23 to support individuals to find new job opportunities which are best suited to their skills and experience.

BCS is hosting an online event, ‘Making sense of the 2021 Budget incentives and funding’ on 22 March at 12.00. We will be answering your questions around the new budget incentives and the funding available for those responsible for the delivery of qualifications, training and apprenticeships.

Find out more about government incentives for skills and jobs, how BCS can support you to harness what is available and sign up to receive updates.