• Pem Paddick

What are Flexi-job Apprenticeships?

They are portable apprenticeships that help apprentices and employers to work with established employment models (such as short-term project-based roles) and make apprenticeships a viable choice for individuals and employers despite the disruptions this can entail.

To overcome this structural challenge in certain sectors, professions, or geographies the Government launched a £7 million fund to support the development of flexi-job apprenticeship agencies, as announced by the Chancellor at Budget in March 2021. £7m will be made available for flexi-job apprenticeships across 2021-22 and 2022-23.

Some employers have already developed models of flexi-job apprenticeships which can help to overcome these challenges. Known as Apprenticeship Training Agencies (ATAs), these bodies provide continuous employment to apprentices while loaning them out at a charge to other employers.

This enables the apprentice to develop their knowledge, skills and behaviours in a variety of workplaces, and for employers it removes the barrier of making a long-term commitment to employ an apprentice.

The distinctive feature of the model is that the ATA or Flexi-job apprenticeship agencies are the apprentice’s employer and therefore retain responsibility for managing their apprenticeship, even while the apprentice undertakes placements with other businesses. This means that alongside the apprentice’s off-the-job training delivered by a training provider of the ATA’s or flexi-job apprenticeship agencies choosing, the apprentice undertakes on-the-job training in one or more business’s workplace. Flexi-job apprenticeship agencies must also have commercial and operating independence from the training and assessment providers they use.

Flexi-job apprenticeship agencies will be responsible for meeting apprentice wage

costs, whether they are on placement with a host business or in the event the apprentice is between placements, it is expected that they will establish viable commercial models that ensure their operating costs are met and that they can provide a quality service to apprentices and employers.

October 2021 saw the closing of applications for organisations that were eligible to apply and register to be a flexi-job apprenticeship agency. The application was for grant funding to support the start-up, development or diversification costs of new flexi-job apprenticeship agencies, or existing Apprenticeship Training Agencies (ATAs) who wished to become a flexi-job apprenticeship agency.

The funding is to:

  • support the start-up, development or diversification of flexi-job apprenticeship agencies allowing employers of all sizes to benefit from high-quality apprenticeships that are relevant and responsive to their skills needs and economic priorities.

  • allow organisations to overcome barriers to the use of apprenticeships in their sectors caused by non-traditional and project-based employment models.

  • increase starts in sectors where non-traditional and project-based employment models have made it harder for employers to engage with apprenticeships.

  • drive quality experiences for apprentices, with corresponding improved achievement rates, resulting in positive outcomes for apprentices in terms of onward destinations in employment and training.

  • support the progression of apprentices into sustainable employment or self-employment (mirroring the norm for their sector or profession)

The latest information is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/flexi-job-apprenticeship-offer

List of current approved training agencies (please note this list should be updated in late December once all approved organisations have been notified) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeship-training-agencies