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To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps he has taken to allocate additional resources for apprenticeships in the agricultural sector.
We have introduced a wide range of reforms to improve the quality of apprenticeships and to encourage employers of all sizes and in all sectors across England to create more high-quality apprenticeship opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds.
This year (2019-20), the funding available for investment in apprenticeships in England is over £2.5 billion, which is double what was spent in 2010. To support employers in sectors such as agriculture to address their skills needs and grow their apprenticeship programmes, we are moving smaller employers onto our award-winning apprenticeship service. This will give these employers a greater choice of training providers. Smaller employers, such as those in supply chains, can also benefit from transferred funds from levy payers.
New high-quality apprenticeship standards, designed and driven by industry, are providing employers with the skills that they need. Over 510 apprenticeship standards have been approved for delivery to apprentices so far. From August 2020 all starts will be on these employer-designed standards.
Standards available in the sector include land-based service engineering, crop technician and farrier at level 3, and poultry worker and abattoir worker at level 2. Further standards are in development including agriculture / horticultural professional adviser at level 6. The agriculture sector can also benefit from standards available that support all employers, such as those in business and administration, and digital. A number of T level pathways including the agriculture, environmental and animal care T Level are also being developed.
Our apprenticeships reforms are helping agricultural technologies to transform farming, creating new types of jobs and requirements for new kinds of skills, and a sufficient and appropriately skilled workforce, which is essential to continued industry growth, productivity and safety.