In this week’s Queen’s Speech, the government outlined plans for the ‘Lifetime Skills Guarantee’ to help boost employment in the UK.
The scheme will allow all adults to access a flexible loan – or a ‘Lifelong Loan Entitlement’ – from government to help pay for part-time or full-time higher education and training at a university or college and allow employers to have a role in planning training programmes through a ‘Skills Accelerator Programme’.
Whether or not the loan entitlement extends to apprenticeships is yet to be made clear.
In reaction to the Queen’s Speech, Helen Booth, director of the HomeServe Foundation – the registered charity of HomeServe plc – said:
“We welcome government initiatives that encourage people to access high quality, long term training, and we’ll be seeking answers as to whether the Lifelong Loan Entitlement could be used to fund apprenticeships, because they have the power to help young people out of work forge new careers, as well as boost employment opportunities for people of all ages.
“Extending the Lifelong Loan Entitlement to apprenticeships would be a visionary step forward.
“One of the things we’ve argued for some time is that co-investment from individuals can help lower costs for SMEs to invest in training and apprenticeships – and we know this is the primary barrier to take up right now – as well as taking away some of the stigma around technical education that still exists.
“Focusing investment is also critical. We’ve been urging the government to consider working more closely with LEPs and local employers to identify regional sector skills shortages for some time – so the idea of the Skills Accelerator is a positive one and could be a really useful tool to help increase apprenticeships and critically to avoid skills shortages, like we have in the trades sector in the UK.”
In 2021, research by the HomeServe Foundation showed increasing demand for trade skills, particularly for trades linked to home repairs and improvements.
The findings of the HomeServe Foundation’s UK Domestic Trades Skills Index show an anticipated gap of 1.25million construction jobs between now and 2030. It means more than 300,000 qualified construction apprenticeships are needed, with 228,000 being in key trades such as plumbing, electrics and joinery.
“The current increased incentives of up to £4,000 are more generous than they’ve ever been, but we’re yet to see if these incentives alone will be enough,” Helen added. “We have to encourage and support more small businesses to use them if we want to boost employment and having flexibility to use government funding – be it through the Lifelong Loan Entitlement or greater access to the £1bn plus of unspent or unused apprenticeship levy – could provide the spark for success we need.”
Please note the extra government incentives are set to end by 31st January 2022.
The HomeServe Foundation helping to arm small businesses with all the information and advice they need to bring on an apprentice and help them grow. Information is available at https://homeservefoundation.com/incentive-payment-and-support/.
HomeServe also has a class-leading apprenticeship training academy based in Nottingham. For more information visit https://apprenticeshipacademy.org.
- Pictured: Helen Booth, Director of the new HomeServe Foundation
- Pictured: Apprentices currently being trained at HomeServe’s world-class Apprenticeship Academy in Nottingham
- The UK Domestic Trade Skills Index was commissioned from independent macro-economic research company Capital Economics by the HomeServe Foundation. It was conducted between December 2020 and January 26, 2021 with the aim of understanding the future demand for trades apprenticeships and their impact on the economy.
About the HomeServe Foundation
The HomeServe Foundation is the registered charity of leading home repairs company HomeServe Plc, established with a clear vision to dramatically increase the number of apprentices in the UK while reducing unemployment.
Launched in September 2020, the HomeServe Foundation’s mission is “Making homes better, building better communities”. The charity’s initial focus is to support the growth of the UK’s skills, capacity and experience by encouraging and helping hard-working employers to take on apprentices in the construction, home improvements and repairs sectors.
Working in partnership with the National Apprenticeship Service, the Foundation has built a platform to give employers all the guidance, tools and support they need to make employing apprentices the best and most efficient choice for their business. It also works closely with HomeServe’s market-leading and industry-approved apprentice Training Academy in Nottingham.
The Foundation’s goal is to increase the number of apprenticeships in the UK by 25,000 over the next three years.