Apprentices: Small Businesses

Department for Education written question – answered at on 21 March 2024.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Labour/Co-operative, York Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she is taking steps to encourage clusters of small employers to take on an apprentice jointly.

Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Minister of State (Education)

The department has introduced flexi-job apprenticeship agencies (FJAAs), which are supporting sectors with short-term project-based work by allowing apprentices to work with multiple host employers, and on a range of projects, to gain the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in their chosen field. The department encourages small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to become host employers and benefit from access to a diverse apprenticeship talent pipeline to help their businesses grow and prosper.

There are now 42 FJAAs supporting the delivery of apprenticeships across every region in England in sectors such as the creative industries, construction, and education. SMEs interested in hosting apprentices can contact a flexi-job apprenticeship agency directly. The current register of FJAAs can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/flexi-job-apprenticeships/flexi-job-apprenticeship-agencies.

More widely, the department has made it easier for SMEs to grow their businesses by removing the limit on the number of apprentices they can take on and cutting by a third the number of steps needed to register to take on an apprentice. The department also continues to pay 95% of training costs for SMEs and has recently launched an expert provider pilot which will give additional permissions to providers within the apprenticeship service so they can take on more administration from SMEs. This will inform development of a wider offer next year.

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