Survey reveals number of apprenticeships being offered to young people has further declined due to Covid-19, despite government incentives

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11th December 2020 11:40 - Engineering

Survey reveals number of apprenticeships being offered to young people has further declined due to Covid-19, despite government incentives: A new survey has found that the government's bonus of £2,000 for every new apprentice hire is not doing enough to curb the fall in available apprenticeships.

The latest poll of 500 senior HR decision makers by educational charity, the Sutton Trust, followed up on its survey conducted in April (2020), to find out how the pandemic has impacted apprenticeships.

Of those companies offering apprenticeships (38%), the research found that since April, the number of apprentices being made redundant due to Covid-19 has risen from 8% to 12%. Also revealed in the latest polling is that over a third (35%) have been furloughed but are now back at work, while 8% are still currently on furlough. Almost a third (31%) said they have been kept in their post since March, with their training continuing via online or distance learning. However, 15% have been kept on, but have had off-site learning suspended at some point since March.

Government incentives

With regard to the government’s incentives to encourage employers to offer apprenticeships to 16-24 year-olds, just 6% reported using the Kickstart Scheme which offers funding for new job placements. Slightly more said they had used the £2,000 Apprenticeship incentive (9%), while others had used the £1,500 incentive (7%) or the £1,000 Traineeship incentive (5%). This equates to just over a quarter (27%) using government schemes to support apprenticeships within their company.

The majority (72%) said they had not used any scheme to hire or recruit employees since August 2020.

Looking towards next year

Department for Education figures show that between 23 March and 31 July in England, 58,160 apprentices were hired – down from 107, 750 during the same period in 2019. For under-19s, the decline is greatest, down over two-thirds compared with the same period last year.

The Sutton Trust survey found that of the employers who do hire apprentices, just over a third (35%) said they plan to hire the same amount in the coming year, while more than a quarter (27%) said they would like to hire 'a few' or 'much more'. Almost a fifth (18%) said they will hire 'a few' or 'much less', while 16% percent said that their company is unlikely to hire any apprentices at all over the coming 12 months.

Peter Lampl, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust, said.

“The coronavirus crisis is having a catastrophic impact on apprentices. This will have a knock-on effect for opportunities for young people in the years to come."

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