Have your say on flexi-job apprenticeship schemes

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UPDATE: This consultation closed on 1 June and the NFU has responded. Email [email protected] for more information on the NFU's response.

The Department for Education is currently consulting on the government’s vision for the development of new, flexi-job apprenticeship schemes. You can help shape the NFU’s response to the consultation - respond by 23 May.

The consultation follows the Chancellor’s announcement in the March budget that a £7 million fund will be launched in July 2021 to create new flexi-job apprenticeship schemes and expand the best existing models.

Flexi-job apprenticeship schemes will build on the Apprenticeship Training Agencies (ATAs), already operating in sectors with non-traditional employment patterns. As apprenticeships are a minimum of 12 months and require the apprentice to be in continuous employment throughout, businesses in some sectors have difficulty employing apprentices as they are unable to commit to a minimum 12-month contract.

ATAs overcome this challenge by providing continuous employment to apprentices while loaning them out at a charge to other employers. This enables the apprentice to develop their knowledge, skills and behaviours in a variety of different workplaces, and for employers it removes the barrier of making a long-term commitment to employ an apprentice.

The distinctive feature of the ATA model is that the ATA is the apprentice’s employer and therefore retains responsibility for managing the apprenticeship, even while the apprentice undertakes placements with other businesses. It means that alongside the apprentice’s off-the-job training delivered by a training provider of the ATA’s choosing, the apprentice undertakes on-the-job training in one or more workplace.

The government aims to build on this network of ATAs, creating a number of flexi-job apprenticeship schemes that will provide continuous employment to apprentices, while loaning them to a number of host businesses for short-term contracts to gain on-the-job training and experience. The flexi-job apprenticeship schemes will also be responsible for arranging off-the-job training and providing pastoral support.

You can read more about the government’s vision for flexi-job apprenticeships in these key notes, taken from the official consultation document.

Get involved in the consultation

The NFU is responding to the flexi-job apprenticeship scheme consultation and would like to hear from members on the proposals, particularly in relation to the following questions:

  • Do you agree with government’s vision for flexi-job apprenticeship schemes?
  • How should flexi-job apprenticeships demonstrate that they are meeting the needs of employers?
  • What expectations should we set of flexi-job apprenticeship schemes in providing a high-quality experience for apprentices?
  • Do you have any concerns about the closure and withdrawal of the dormant register of ATAs?
  • Should any additional parameters to the fund be added to encourage employer engagement? For example, pledged levy funds or matched co-funding for set-up or expansion costs?

The full list of consultation questions can be found here.

You can read about the consultation in full here.