Job Retention Bonus
From a manufacturing sector perspective, the £1,000 financial incentives to support those brought back off furlough and still employed in January will be welcome news particularly when at one stage over 75% of businesses in the sector who responded to ONS surveys had taken advantage of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Additional capital or new apprenticeship hires:
One of the consistent challenges for manufacturing companies is securing talent and bridging the gap between the educational training in school and practical application required in businesses and, whilst the devil will be in the detail, the announcement of financial support of up to an additional £2,000 for new apprenticeship hires between 1st August and 31 January 2021 could create valuable opportunities.
The industry faces a challenge in getting across the breadth of opportunity that it can offer to school leavers particularly with the evolution of roles as a result of automation and Artificial Intelligence and the sector will be hoping that the National Careers Service will engage with businesses to ensure it utilises the additional financial support effectively to support interest and growth in the sector. The UK manufacturing sector brings significant value to the UK economy and needs support to ensure that it is well placed to take advantage of the additional opportunities that will be created as a consequence of increased automation and the governmental commitment to infrastructure spending
How could the Kickstart schemes help?
The wider announcements around Kickstart schemes for 6 month work placements, funding for work placements and training of up to £1,000 per new trainee aged 16-24 and additional funding for sector-based work academies have the potential to be beneficial but their success will depend on ease of access to the support and the terms as businesses will want to ensure that there is a return on investment particularly as the sector can involve a higher level of initial investment.