Local authorities have called for financial incentives in place to help employers create apprenticeship programmes to be extended beyond the end of the furlough scheme.
The current scheme provides employers, including local authorities, with an additional £3,000 to take on an apprentice and is due to end at the end of September. Councils have received at least £4.1m in incentives since they were introduced in August 2020.
The Local Government Association (LGA) is calling on Government to extend the duration of the incentives until at least 31 March 2022 to enable employers to use of them as part of local economic recovery plans and to ensure that no opportunities to create apprenticeships are lost.
‘This scheme has already helped businesses and local authorities create tens of thousands of life changing apprenticeship opportunities to people in their local communities,’ said Cllr Sir Richard Leese, chair of the LGA’s City Regions Board.
‘By extending the scheme, councils can work with local employers and the Government to ensure that the country builds back better from the pandemic.’
Local authorities have so far invested more than £200m to create over 55,000 apprenticeship starts in 150 different qualifications over the last four years, an LGA survey revealed.
The survey also discovered that 43% of councils found an increase in interest in apprentices from maintained schools as a result of the incentive scheme.
Cllr Leese added: ‘Knowing their communities best, councils are uniquely placed to bring all partners together to create greater opportunities for those who are unemployed and help achieve our shared ambition with government to level up across the country.’