To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with representatives of employers on the continuation of planned apprenticeships in (a) 2020 and (b) 2021.
Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and supporting employers in all sectors to access the skilled workforce they need to recover and grow post COVID-19. The flexibilities we have introduced are enabling apprenticeships to continue. We are looking to support employers of all sizes, and particularly smaller businesses, to take on new apprentices this year. We will set out further details in due course. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year.
We are continuing to meet with employers and their representative organisations. I hosted a series of round tables with employers and business representative groups to discuss what more is needed to support employers, including the Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The National Apprenticeship Service continues to support employers, intermediary organisations and stakeholders through regular virtual meetings, and timely communications about changes to apprenticeship policies in response to COVID-19. Insight gathered from our engagement with employers and their representative bodies is used to help shape further flexibilities.