Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday set out plans to protect jobs, including new cash incentives for companies to hire apprentices.
Apprenticeships have been a major focus for the catering equipment sector in the last few years and while many companies have frozen their recruitment plans until the economic picture is clearer, it will provide fresh impetus for those in a position to nurture young talent.
Mr Sunak said research shows that 91% of apprentices stay in work or do further training afterwards. “So for the next six months, we’re going to pay employers to create new apprenticeships,” he said. “We will pay businesses to hire young apprentices, with a new payment of £2,000 per apprentice.
“And we will introduce a brand-new bonus for businesses to hire apprentices aged 25 and over, with a payment of £1,500.”
The announcement came as he also unveiled the ‘Kickstart Scheme’, a new programme to give hundreds of thousands of young people the best possible chance of getting on and getting a job.
The Kickstart Scheme will directly pay employers to create new jobs for any 16 to 24-year-old at risk of long-term unemployment.
“These will be new jobs – with the funding conditional on the firm proving these jobs are additional,” Sunak said. “These will be decent jobs – with a minimum of 25 hours per week paid at least the National Minimum Wage.
“And they will be good quality jobs – with employers providing Kickstarters with training and support to find a permanent job.
“If employers meet these conditions, we will pay young people’s wages for six months, plus an amount to cover overheads. That means, for a 24-year-old, the grant will be around £6,500.
Employers can apply to be part of the scheme from next month, with the first Kickstarters in their new jobs this autumn.
“I urge every employer, big or small, national or local, to hire as many Kickstarters as possible,” he said.
Sunak said an initial £2 billion would be made available to fund the scheme, with no cap on the number of places available.
Additionally, he revealed the Jobs Retention Bonus – a new policy to reward and incentivise employers who successfully bring furloughed staff back.
“If you’re an employer and you bring someone back who was furloughed – and you continuously employ them through to January – we will pay you a £1,000 bonus per employee,” he explained.
“It is vital people aren’t just returning for the sake of it – they need to be doing decent work. So for businesses to get this bonus, the employee must be paid at least £520 on average, in each month from November to January – the equivalent of the lower earnings limit in National Insurance.”
Mr Sunak said that if employers bring back all nine million people who have been furloughed, it would be a £9 billion policy to retain people in work.