New flexible apprenticeships will soon be available to create opportunities for more people to earn while they learn in industries that boost the economy the government has announced.
Up to 1,500 apprentices will be recruited on the government’s new flexi-job apprenticeship scheme, which will allow people to complete short placements across sectors such as construction and creative during their apprenticeship, opening up a new paid training route to a career in these industries.
Some sectors with flexible employment patterns and short-term roles have previously found it harder to take an apprentice on. Apprenticeships are at least 12 months long, and apprentices need guaranteed employment and pay for that whole period. The new scheme will put an end to this by using agencies that can act as employers and place apprentices on projects in different companies.
Almost £5 million has been awarded by the government to support employers including the BBC and NHS to offer the flexi-job apprenticeship scheme and support recruitment of apprentices.
Now an apprentice hired by the BBC will be able to work with several production companies in short term roles during their apprenticeship, while an apprentice working in construction could fulfil several contracts – such as working on both home refurbishments and bigger infrastructural projects – and earn while they learn.
The announcement, which coincides with National Apprenticeship Week, forms part of plans to increase apprenticeship numbers in key sectors such as healthcare, construction, and the creative industry.
Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi said: “Gone are the days when apprenticeships are restricted by a one-size fits all approach. Through our dynamic post-16 reforms, we are investing directly in people, delivering prestigious and flexible apprenticeships which suits learners’ needs.
“New flexi-job apprenticeships will not only help to deliver the skilled workforce needed to support a diverse range of sectors to grow, but it will create even more exciting opportunities for people to secure a great career.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Apprenticeships are a cornerstone of our Plan for Jobs, providing people with an excellent route into some of the best careers and contributing to a high-skill, high-productivity economy.
“I’m thrilled to see such exciting new opportunities being created in a wide range of industries thanks to our flexi-job apprenticeships – supporting more people to find the apprenticeship that is right for them.”
Following a rigorous application process, a total of 15 organisations have been approved by the government to establish Flexi-Job Apprenticeship Agencies. The agencies will recruit and employ apprentices and place them with host businesses to work on a range of exciting projects, so they gain the skills and experience in previously untapped industries including film and television, healthcare, construction, and engineering.
Successful organisations include the BBC, who have already launched their new BBC Apprentice Hub in Birmingham to offer the flexi-job apprenticeship scheme, ScreenSkills, which will work with partners Prime Video, Sky with APX Content Ventures, Banijay UK and Lime Pictures as well as the NHS and civil engineering specialists McGinley Ltd. All will offer people a unique opportunity to build experience across a range of sectors in the coming months.
BBC director general Tim Davie said: “The importance of growing skills and introducing fresh, diverse talent has never been greater than it is today. It is the perfect time to be launching the BBC Apprentice Hub in Birmingham. We are working closely with local creative businesses to give apprentices from across the West Midlands the skills and experience they need to thrive in this exciting industry.”
NHS North of England Care System Support’ (NECS) spokesperson said: “We are delighted to be able to facilitate the Flexi Job Apprenticeship offer across the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System. We are hugely excited by this scheme which complements our very ambitious NECS 100 programme (giving graduates and six form leavers their chance to find a career in the NHS). We look forward to applying that learning and experience to the Flexi Job Apprenticeship offer and provide even more job and development opportunities to the communities we serve.”
The first apprentices are expected to start their flexi-job apprenticeship placements from late February.