Chief Executive of accountancy training firm First Intuition (@first_intuition), Gareth John, has commended the government for their plans to extend the apprenticeship incentive scheme and thereby support more career opportunities for young people at a time when they need all the help they can get.

In his Autumn budget statement Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged increased apprenticeship funding in England to £2.7 billion by 2024-25, this is on top of an extension to help and support employers who recruit apprentices.

The government confirmed that employers who recruit apprentices between 1 October 2021 and 31 January 2022 are entitled to incentive payments of £3,000 per eligible learner. This is the second extension to the financial incentives offered to businesses who take advantage of the wide range of benefits of using apprenticeship programmes to develop and retain talent.

Speaking about how the scheme has helped young adults into work since it was first implemented in early 2020, Gareth John said:

“The first round of apprenticeship incentives offered during 2020 and early 2021 did a great job of giving employers of accountants the confidence to continue with their entry-level recruitment plans during a period when they were balancing increased workloads with high levels of economic uncertainty. This recruitment has really helped them with resourcing rising demand now that the economic recovery is in full swing.”

Furthermore, Gareth talks about how the extension and increase to the incentives in early 2021, prompted by the ongoing pandemic, has had an even more positive impact:

“Given the growing difficulties employers in the accountancy and finance sector have been experiencing retaining talent, the extension and increase of the incentives for new apprentice hires through to 30 September 2021 was extremely welcome. It seems clear that at a time when a cohort of young adults leaving education needed as much support as possible in securing their first professional roles the increased incentives stimulated a record number of entry-level vacancies. Well done to the Chancellor for this well-targeted and timely support for job creation!”

Employers are reminded that those who recruited apprentices between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021 and who will have started their apprenticeship programmes by 30 November 2021 need to apply for their incentive payments via the Apprenticeship Service by 30th November 2021.

In the Autumn 2021 Budget the Chancellor confirmed a further extension to the apprenticeship incentive scheme which is likely to prompt further recruitment. Employers will be eligible for a payment of £3,000 per apprentice with an employment start date from 1 October 2021 to 31 January 2022. Applications will open via the Apprenticeship Service on 11 January 2022 and close on 15 May 2022.

Gareth comments on this further extension to the scheme: “After seeing first-hand the beneficial impact that the previous two phases of apprenticeship incentives have had on employment opportunities being offered to young adults, it is great to hear the Chancellor has used the Autumn budget to further extend these incentives to the end of January 2022. On top of record intakes of new accountancy trainees being taken on this Autumn I already know of a number of firms whose continued workload growth is now driving a second intake in early 2022. Even more great career opportunities available for even more ambitious individuals.”

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