Department for Education written question – answered on 22nd October 2021.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to (a) increase flexibility in the apprenticeship system and (b) extend access to workers on temporary contracts.

Photo of Alex Burghart Alex Burghart The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

We are making apprenticeships more flexible so that they better meet the needs of employers in all sectors. We are encouraging greater use of innovative apprenticeship training models, such as the front-loading of off-the-job training, so apprentices can be productive from day one in the workplace. We are also developing accelerated apprenticeships so that apprentices with substantial prior learning from other skills programmes, such as traineeships and T Levels, can complete an apprenticeship more quickly. Additionally, we are making it easier for large employers to transfer levy funds to support new starts in small businesses, or in a certain sector or region. On 13 September 2021, we launched a new online service to allow levy paying employers to advertise funding pledges, enabling a much wider range of businesses to browse and apply for available funds.

We recognise that some sectors with flexible employment patterns and short-term roles, including creative, digital, adult social care, transport, and manufacturing have found it challenging to benefit from the high-quality apprenticeships available. In August, to help these sectors, we launched our new flexi-job apprenticeship offer. We have invited sector bodies, groups of employers, and other interested organisations to register as flexi-job apprenticeship agencies, giving them access to a £7 million fund to support new agencies with their start-up costs. These agencies will enable apprentices to work across multiple short-term projects with different employers and allow them to benefit from the high-quality long-term training that an apprenticeship provides.

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