March 19th, 2014 held the annual budget in the House of Commons, where Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, outlined the details of the nation’s finances, and the Government’s proposals for the changes in taxation in the upcoming year.
The Budget affects apprenticeships, as the Chancellor revealed a few promises, including:
- Doubling the number of apprenticeship availabilities
- Introducing degree-level apprenticeships
- Extending employer grants for apprentice employers
- £190 million of new funding to help boost apprenticeships
A Rise in Apprenticeships
The Government has identified a confidence gap which has separated employers and young job seekers. They plan to overcome this by doubling the number of apprenticeships available – a critical step as figures reveal that more than 900,000 16-24 year olds are currently out of work.
The Director of Western Europe at CompTIA, Graham Hunter says ‘Places available are not the same as places filled, and low awareness on both sides of the potential of apprenticeships remains a problem. We would like to see a greater push to employers and students to communicate the value and respectability of apprenticeships.’
Deciding to start your career journey by becoming an apprentice is a wise decision, and there are many reasons to do one. It is also a wise career move to hire an apprentice, as the benefits are plentiful.
Apprenticeships are often seen as being less valuable, or not as rewarding as going to university – a ‘Plan B for people who can’t achieve the grades’. This is untrue, as you can still achieve high-level qualifications from vocational learning, and you don’t have the added debt of university fees on top of you.
In order to help remove this perception of the apprenticeships programme, George Osborne announced:
We’ll now develop new degree-level apprenticeships.
Proving that deciding to do an apprenticeship rather than go to university has the same value, and it isn’t a second choice, as it is often viewed to be.
The Budget revealed plans of an Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) scheme, which focuses entirely on small businesses, who, without the grant, wouldn’t be able to recruit 16-24 year olds through the apprenticeship programme.
The AGE grant is a great way to encourage a small business to hire their first apprentice. The grant is available for any small business with less than 50 employees, and who have not had an apprentice for the past year. Businesses matching this criteria are eligible to receive a £1,500 grant for each of up to ten apprentices between the age of 16 and 24 that they take on.
Having this kind of support from the Government proves the success and worth of both being an apprentice, and hiring them in your workforce.