New ‘Flexi-Job’ apprenticeships – what can they achieve for the creative and cultural sector?

“It is highly encouraging to see the many years’ work of CCSkills and others in developing the flexi-job apprenticeships proposal coming to fruition. This has the potential to be powerfully transformative for the creative and cultural industries’ ability to make use of, and offer, apprenticeships.” Creative & Cultural Skills Chief Executive, Jane Ide

The ‘flexi-job’ apprenticeships announced this week in England can offer a new route to careers in our world-leading creative industries and help arts and cultural organisations of all sizes connect with new talent. The scheme could also remove some barriers faced by those currently under-represented in the sector, boosting diversity and broadening opportunity.

Until now, government-approved apprenticeships have required at least twelve months of employment with a single employer. A £7 million government fund launching soon will establish agencies to operate a new scheme – employing apprentices who can learn from a range of projects, with different host organizations, gaining the insights, skills and attributes they need.

“This more flexible approach to apprenticeships better reflects the reality of working life across much of our sector. Creative and cultural organisations often work on a project-by-project basis, with a skilled workforce operating across several employers, large and small. Greater flexibility will also widen opportunity in important ways. Those who may not be able to commit to working 9-5 Monday to Friday week after week will be able to develop occupational competence in a way that works better for them, meaning apprenticeships in our sector can be opened up to a much wider range of people.” Creative & Cultural Skills Director of Policy & Development, Sara Whybrew who played a key role in sector consultation and in the development of the policy.

The government this week announced that the first apprenticeships organised through flexi-job apprenticeship agencies are expected to start in early 2022. The fund will be available in England between January 2022 and March 2023. Organisations can apply for sums between £100,000 and £1 million to set up new flexi-job apprenticeship agencies. The £7 million flexi-job apprenticeship fund will be accessed through a competitive grant process, with applicants applying to join the register of flexi-job apprenticeship agencies. Applicants must meet a robust set of criteria, demonstrating how they will meet the needs of their target sector or region, ensuring that apprentices and host employers receive a high-quality apprenticeship experience.

Creative & Cultural Skills has been involved in apprenticeships since 2008, when we first supported the development of the creative apprenticeship frameworks for the industry. Since then we’ve seen thousands of apprentices start in the sector, supporting young people to pursue an alternative route into employment in our world-leading industry. Our passion for apprenticeships is unwavering. We remain committed to championing this route to work to address skills gaps and shortages and as a tool for increasing the diversity of our current and future workforce.

Our continued work on apprenticeships includes:

  • The updating of existing, and development of new, apprenticeship training routes across all four nations of the UK. We work with relevant Government departments and arms-length bodies to do this
  • Supporting training providers to expand their provision to accommodate the delivery of apprenticeship training
  • Providing direct advice and guidance to employers and associated stakeholders on apprenticeships and how to use this route to develop our workforce
  • Setting best practice standards for employers around the recruitment and management of apprentices
  • Helping the sector understand the apprenticeship policy context, and in turn informing policy-makers to help them understand how apprenticeships might best work for the cultural sector

All our work on apprenticeships over the years has helped us understand the challenges employers face when recruiting new talent and the flexibilities they need when working with a training provider or college. We’re always happy to talk about apprenticeships, so if you have a query or would simply like a chat about how apprenticeships could work for you, please get in touch at