The FDF supports the Government's priority to increase the quality and quantity of apprenticeships. Since the Apprenticeship Levy was launched in April 2017, the FDF have been working with members, key stakeholders and Government to maximise the benefits of the Levy for our sector.

Maximising Opportunities for Covid Recovery

In July 2020, through the Food and Drink Sector Council Workforce and Skills Workstream, the FDF, in partnership with BRC, NFU, NSAFD and UKH, sent a letter to the Rt Hon Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education. The letter put forward five proposals of practical changes that would maximise the apprenticeship opportunities businesses across the food chain could offer during the critical period of recovery from Covid-19.

  • Temporarily extend or remove the 24-month expiry date to levy funds so businesses can use this money to fund apprenticeships during the recovery. Offering businesses greater ownership of their levy contributions will signal that business must lead and step-up to the challenge.
  • Fund 100% of SME training costs. SMEs have a key role to play in providing apprenticeships but often struggle to meet this additional expense. A relatively small cost could have a big impact
  • Introduce an additional financial incentive to businesses hosting an apprenticeship during the recovery phase. These incentives could be targeted at school leavers to support aims to reduce the numbers of young people not in education, employment or training. All businesses are under intense pressure to reduce costs and support at this time will be warmly welcomed.
  • Allow employers to work flexibly with providers on the 20% off-the-job training requirement. This will allow apprenticeships to continue when they would otherwise be put on a break in learning, providing a better experience for the learner and reducing unwanted red-tape for businesses.
  • Commit to a comprehensive consultation on apprenticeships and the levy fund where nothing is off the table, including the option to move towards a flexible skills levy that can be used to pay for shorter, but high quality, courses and qualifications. For many people with existing skills and experience, a short course, in a STEM area or in leadership and management for example, can have long-term benefits in how effectively they can work.

You can find the full letter to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson here »

Apprenticeship Incentives and A Plan for Jobs

On Wednesday 8th July, the Chancellor announced 'A Plan for Jobs' which included financial incentives for apprenticeships and traineeships as a key part of the Government's plan to restart the economy.

Starting on 1st August 2020 and for the next 6 months, the Government will pay businesses to hire new apprentices:

  • £2,000 for each new apprentice under the age of 25 (in addition the existing £1,000 incentive for apprentices 16-18 will still be available)
  • £1,500 incentive for each new apprentice age 25 and over

Additionally, incentives have been added to the existing traineeship programme:

  • Employers will receive £1,000 for each new traineeship, capping at 10.
  • The programme will extend eligibility to 16-24 year olds with Level 3 or below qualifications.

As part of the Plan for Jobs announcement, the Chancellor also outlined a new Kickstart Scheme, aimed at 16-24 year olds who are claiming Universal Credit. The Scheme will offer funding for a 6- month job placement covering 100% of the NMW for 25 hours a week.

FDF and NSAFD Joint Apprenticeships Roundtable

On 3rd August, the FDF and National Skills Academy for Food & Drink held a join roundtable with employers and providers from across the sector to discuss the Plan for Jobs and the apprenticeship incentives with officials from the Department for Education and the Department for Work and Pensions.

You can watch the full Roundtable discussion here »

You can access the presentation slides from the event here »

Apprenticeship Levy

You can find the latest updates and guidance on the Apprenticeship Levy below:

An employer guide on how the Apprenticeship Levy works »

'Fire It Up' website: a tool for employers and apprentices to learn more »

For further advice regarding the levy, Members can visit the online toolkit.

New Apprenticeship Standards

Since 2013, food and drink employers have been working together with the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink to develop relevant Apprenticeship standards for our sector. Learn more about the standards developed by and available for the food and drink industry.

Last reviewed: 12 Aug 2020