We are encouraging employers of all sizes to hire new apprentices through our employer hiring incentives. Employers who hire a new apprentice of any age until 30th September will receive £3,000 per apprentice. These payments build on the scheme originally launched as part of the Plan for Jobs: between 1st August 2020 and 4th May 2021, nearly 53,000 payments have been claimed by employers.
We are also continuing to improve the apprenticeships system for employers by: introducing more flexible training options, such as the front-loading of training and accelerated apprenticeships; making the transfer of unspent Levy funds to SMEs easier through the introduction of a new pledge function and employer matching service in August 2021; and supporting apprenticeships in industries with flexible working patterns, including through the launch of a £7m fund in July 2021 to help qualifying employers set up and expand the flexi-job apprenticeship scheme. These improvements will help put employers more firmly in the driving seat, enabling them to utilise apprenticeships in ways that suit their business needs and encouraging them to take on more apprentices.