🌷 Apprenticeships set to bloom following latest budget

As we enter Spring, there are a number of important updates that we want to share with you and also elicit your feedback in terms of what you want from Hawk as your training provider as we enter the next (hopefully, easier) phase of the pandemic.

In light of the release of the government’s recent roadmap for easing COVID restrictions which includes the return of all school and college students on 8th March, we are planning a safe return to blended and face-to-face learning where this is a preferred option.

Please do complete our delivery survey using the following link to ensure we provide the best and most tailored service to your requirements and those of your team: https://share.hsforms.com/1iYbCDReRSkuXKLeD1oXytg1o8fg.

Over the last year, we have delivered nearly 500 online workshops with almost 3000 attendees, but we are mindful that some employers and learners are keen to engage in face to face delivery when it is safe to do so.


Spring Budget: Skills and FE

As well as the extension until September of the furlough scheme, the Chancellor also made a number of key announcements regards investment in skills

  1. Cash incentives for employers to hire new apprentices doubled

Apprenticeship financial incentives were first introduced in August and currently offer firms £2,000 to take on apprentices aged 16 to 24, while those that employ new apprentices aged 25 and over are paid £1,500. The chancellor said that the bonuses, set to end this month, will be extended for a further six months to September. And any employers who hire a new apprentice between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021 will receive £3,000 per new hire, regardless of the apprentice’s age. This is on top of the £1,000 payment already provided for new apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those under 25 with an education, health and care plan, meaning that some employers could receive £4,000 in total. Please do let us know if you require further information.

  1. £126m for traineeships

The government will provide an additional £126 million in England for “high-quality” work placements and training for 16- to 24-year-olds in the 2021/22 academic year. This is hoped to attract a further 40,000 traineeship starts next year. Employers who provide trainees with work experience will continue to be funded at a rate of £1,000 per trainee. It builds on the £111 million the chancellor set aside in 2020/21 to triple the number of traineeships. Please do let us know if you are interested in supporting a traineeship programme, please do get in touch. Hawk holds a direct contract with the ESFA to deliver traineeships with 19-24 year olds in London and elsewhere, we are able to work in partnership with other providers to facilitate high-quality programmes that enable employers to provide work placements for young people before potentially employing them as an apprentice or in a conventional job.

Click here for more information on how our traineeships can support your business.

  1. ‘Portable’ apprenticeships set to be launched

Government will introduce a £7 million fund from July 2021 to “help employers in England set up and expand portable apprenticeships”. The budget document says this will enable people who need to work across multiple projects with different employers, such as in the TV and film industries, to “benefit from the high-quality long-term training that an apprenticeship provides”. Employers will be “invited to bring forward proposals here, and in particular the Creative Industries Council will be asked to do so in recognition of the potential benefits of this new approach for the creative sector”. The Treasury has called this scheme “flexi-job” apprenticeships. The first of these are expected to start in January 2022. We will keep you posted on further developments.

  1. ‘Help to Grow’ scheme for SMEs to upskill.

The budget document says the government will offer a new UK-wide management programme to upskill 30,000 small and medium-sized enterprises over three years. It states: “Developed in partnership with industry, the programme will combine a national curriculum delivered through business schools with practical case studies and mentoring from experienced business professionals. “Over 12 weeks, and 90 per cent subsidised by government, this programme will equip SMEs with the tools to grow their businesses and thrive.” The budget’s costing document shows the government has set aside £60 million for this scheme in 2021/22 and then £75 million for 2022/23. Again, we will keep you informed as further detail emerges. Don’t forget, as well as leadership and management apprenticeships, Hawk also already offers arrange of short courses designed to support both existing and aspiring managers.

We deliver a fantastic range of remote workshops which can be flexibly delivered and are facilitated by our experienced and talented delivery team. Click here to find the most suitable course for you.


All employers to switch to online Apprenticeship Service (AS) accounts from April 2021

Please note that as of April, all employers including those who do not pay the apprenticeship levy will need to set up an AS account online in order to reserve apprenticeship funding for the 95% government contribution. For those who do not have an AS account, Hawk Training are here to support you in registering. Please also click on this video guide for more information and let us know if you need further support. 


Changes to Functional Skills Assessments in apprenticeships

Eligible apprentices can now take their End-Point Assessment before achieving the required Functional Skills Qualifications.

This flexibility will be available until 31 May 2021 and applies to apprentices at all levels who:

  • are ready to take and FSQ assessment but are unable to due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions. This means they have exhausted all possibilities to access FSQ assessment via face-to-face and remote delivery
  • have confirmed their intent to continue and complete their FSQ within three months of starting their EPA
  • meet all other gateway criteria to progress to their EPA except FSQ achievement.

Apprentices must take their FSQ within three months of starting their EPA in order that they complete their programme and receive their completion certificate.

In addition, in exceptional circumstances where a learner is unable to sit a functional skills assessment wither online or face to face, centre-assessed grading can also be used from April. This only applies to learners unable to sit assessments from September 2020 until the end of the academic year.

Thank you for your continued support. I hope you, your families and colleagues keep well and that it will not be too much longer before we are once again able to meet in person. As ever, please feel free to let us know if we can provide further support at any time.