New Flexi-Apprenticeships Announced – We’re There Already

The Creative Industries have been at the forefront of lobbying Government for changes to the apprenticeship employment rules. This is because in our sector, project-based employment is often the norm and we have struggled more than other sectors to comply with the 12-month minimum employment contract apprenticeships rule.

A £7 million fund to run so-called “portable” or “flexi-job” apprenticeships in sectors such as the creative industries and in construction was announced in the budget last week.

It is targeted at those industries that cannot offer a long-enough placement with a single employer for apprentices to meet this statuary minimum 12-month requirement. In the screen sector, for example, most roles are freelance and usually only run for two to three months.

Now this scheme has been developed for large employers where according to F.E. Week.

“Levy problems [are] ‘particularly stark’ for creative industries”.

Outside of London and the South East, of course, there aren’t that many large creative industries employers who have to pay the apprentice levy because their wage bills are more than £3 million / year.

Yet the same issues of project based / freelance employment is found in many sectors of the creative & cultural industries and affects SME’s as well as large employers.

Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership have made a huge commitment to supporting the development of the creative industries in the region. They recognised this issue 18 months ago and commissioned Creative Alliance to conduct a research and development project with SMEs in the creative industries to explore “flexi/portable” apprenticeship models.

Anita Bhalla, GBSLEP non-executive board director for Creative and Culture says,

“ Apprenticeships are a great opportunity for businesses to develop new talent and a pipeline of employment opportunities. However, there are many barriers for SMEs in the creative and cultural industries which is why we have worked with Creative Alliance to research and develop new models of apprenticeship employment. The recent budget announcement means we are already in a position to engage with local organisation to offer a flexible approach to employing apprentices. GBSLEP is committed to inclusive economic growth and we will continue to work with our partners in the public, private and academic sectors to drive solutions that help businesses and create jobs for our people. “

We’ve consulted with nearly 100 employers from across the creative industries through on-line surveys, small group conversations and 1:2:1 interviews. We’ve distilled this research into a summary that you read here (it takes no more than 3 minutes to read – we promise!).

To read a summary of the research, click here.

The key point: create models around employers not fit employers in models: intelligent brokerage is the key.

We’re about to enter the development stage with 20 employers from the creative & cultural industries to explore how to do this in line with the new Government announcement. If you want to find out more and/or take part in the development phase please contact Noel Dunne [email protected]