An Oxford-based national apprenticeship training provider has called on the Government to extend incentive payments to businesses who hire an apprentice.

Marston-based Ignite Sport UK wants to see the cash bonus scheme worth up to £4,000 per apprentice extended until the end of 2021 to allow employers more time to give people a career break.

Currently, businesses have until Thursday, September 30, to recruit new apprentices and be entitled to additional Government funds.

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There are no fixed rules concerning how funds are spent, but they can be used to cover apprentice costs such as travel expenses, equipment and uniform.

The incentive was confirmed in the Budget in March to help businesses invest in developing a skilled workforce for the future while supporting young people to source employment.

Oxford Mail:

Ignite Sport UK Director Justin Merritt said an extension to the scheme can help the UK’s economy recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Merritt added: “Apprenticeships have been revolutionised since the turn of the millennium to support people of all ages interested in careers covering every sector. Apprenticeships will play an important role in the UK’s steady recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and every avenue to support people finding employment should be explored.

“Hiring an apprentice provides businesses with a cost-effective staffing solution which can help to grow and develop existing teams. The best apprenticeships enable people to re-skill and change career to accommodate long-term aspirations. At Ignite Sport UK, we are witness to the true power of apprenticeships every day and encourage other organisations to explore what they can offer.”

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A recent Government commissioned survey revealed 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation. Additionally, 78% of firms added apprenticeships improved productivity while 74% confirmed they helped improve the quality of their product or service.

Justin said apprentices working for Ignite Sport UK help to fill skill gaps, provide development programmes and source future team members from within the business. He added: “More universities are respecting the value of an apprenticeship and many people are now using them as a steppingstone to higher education. While apprentices gain valuable experience in a real working environment, they are constantly learning via their tutors to further develop their skills and work towards achieving an industry recognised qualification.”

Ignite Sport UK is a registered training provider specialising in sports-based apprenticeships across the UK.