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Government spends big on traineeships to fight pandemic’s impact

UK News | Published:

Businesses offering new positions in England will receive a £1,000 bonus per trainee.

Rishi Sunak

More than £100 million is to be invested in traineeships for young people in response to the coronavirus crisis, the Government has said.

Businesses offering the unpaid placements in England will receive a £1,000 bonus per trainee under the £111 million scheme.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce the move for 18-24 year olds on Wednesday as he unveils an economic strategy to deal with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It comes as new data from the Centre for Retail Research revealed more than 24,000 jobs have already been lost at high street retailers in the first half of 2020, while almost 32,000 positions are still at risk of being permanently axed if more stores close.

Meanwhile, it was also reported that Mr Sunak will exempt the majority of  homebuyers from paying stamp duty.

The Times reported that the Chancellor would outline plans this week to raise the threshold at which people start paying stamp duty from £125,000 to as high as £500,000.

As part of a traineeship initiative, which lasts from six weeks to six months, young people receive maths, English and CV writing training as well as guidance about what to expect in the workplace, the Treasury said.

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The schemes include unpaid work experience but trainees will continue to be eligible to receive welfare payments during their course.

A Treasury spokesperson said: “The Government are making available three times more funding to providers this year to pay for tripling the number of trainees, and also increasing the funding providers receive for training.

Trainees working together
Trainees will receive guidance about what to expect in the workplace as part of the scheme (Ian Jacobs/Openreach/PA Media)

“Businesses will also get a £1,000 bonus payment from the Government for every trainee they offer a work experience placement to.

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“Employers who are new to providing trainees with work experience, or growing their existing offer, will also be eligible for the payment.

“Evidence shows three-quarters of 18 to 24-year-olds who complete traineeships move on to employment or further study within 12 months.”

The expanded scheme will be in place in England from September 2020.

The Government said it will also provide £21 million to the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for similar initiatives.

Also, work academies are to get a £17 million investment.

Funding is being provided for more than 30,000 extra places at sector-based work academies, the Treasury said.

The comments came as the Government was told by former advisers to five Tory prime ministers and chancellors that its immediate focus must be “jobs, jobs jobs” but debt must also be falling by 2024.

Economic advisers to George Osborne, David Cameron, Theresa May, Philip Hammond and Sajid Javid have set out a plan for the UK’s recovery from coronavirus which includes a national debt restructuring agency and an unprecedented skills and jobs package.

Mr Sunak must be prepared to focus his full efforts on jobs as the extraordinary nature of the pandemic demands an “urgent” response, the former No 10 and Treasury advisers wrote in a report published on Monday for think tank Onward.

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