Amid the current skills shortage, it is essential that the construction industry safeguards apprentices with formal apprenticeships.
In the Retaining Talent in Construction Survey carried out by Build UK on behalf of the Construction Leadership Council, results in June showed that 43% of apprentices were currently furloughed, with 6.7% likely to lose their jobs by September. In the longer term, 10% of respondents were expecting to make apprentices redundant, and 60% of companies expected to take on fewer apprentices at the next intake this month.
There have been a lot of funding incentives, webinars and support for apprenticeships that I have come across recently in my role as NAS Training Manager. I have collated these below to encourage members to retain and recruit apprentices which are vital to the shopfitting, fit-out and interior contracting industry.
The CITB New Apprentice Support Grant expired on 1 September 2020, however there is alternative support available. NAS members (and employers) in England who hire a new apprentice before 31 January 2021 can apply for the following funding as detailed here.
- £3,000 for each new apprentice aged 16-18 (£2,000 plus an additional £1,000 already available to employers taking on an apprentice within this age range)
- £2,000 for each new apprentice aged 19 to 24
- £1,500 for each new apprentice aged 25 and over.
Incentives also apply to recruiting apprentices who have been made redundant and offering them the opportunity to complete their qualification.
Funded apprenticeships for the shopfitting sector
NAS Approved Training Provider, Didac, offers a range of tailored programmes to meet the employer’s business needs. These include funded apprenticeships and short courses, delivered within your workplace. Find out more about the apprenticeships and funding on offer here.
The ESFA – Education and Skills Funding Agency are running a series of free apprenticeship service webinars starting 10 September on applying for the incentive payment for hiring new apprentices and funding rules. You can find the topics and registration links below.
Employers: Click Here to Register – How to apply for an incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice
Training Providers: Click Here to Register – How to support employers to apply for an incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice
Government guidance on apprenticeships
The Government have provided guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations in response to the impact of Coronavirus. The document can be found here.
Below are the nine main focuses, courtesy of Grace Payne – Apprenticeship Ambassador Network, and Chris Selby, Head of Marketing at CCATF, a NAS Partner:
- Information on the actions that training providers should take for the return of apprentices in September 2020
- As apprentices return to work, assessment centres and educational settings, training providers, employers and EPAOs consider how best to minimise the risks of coronavirus transmission when determining how and when training and assessment takes place.
- Apprenticeship delivery can be extremely flexible and it is up to training providers, employers and EPAOs to agree how training is delivered, and how assessments are undertaken. They may want to take advantage of more than one delivery method to balance any risks from coronavirus with providing a full educational experience.
- Training providers, employers and EPAOs should consider how much apprentices from different employers mix with other learners and staff when training in an educational setting or undertaking assessment.
- Updated guidance on workplaces and assessment centres.
- Additional information on local outbreaks, contingencies for outbreaks, and links to the wider FE guidance.
- Confirmation on the planning to restart routine funding audits from September 2020.
- How apprentices who have been made redundant, or who are at risk of redundancy, can access online and telephone support through the Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices.
- Information on the new incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice.
Further helpful resources
- Hire an apprentice who’s been made redundant
- Applying for incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice
- Guidance for working safely during coronavirus
- Supporting apprenticeships during the coronavirus outbreak
Images c/o NAS Approved Training Provider, Didac.