I’m very pleased that we have announced a cash boost to create more flexible apprenticeship opportunities and help more young people develop the skills they need to get good jobs. Traditional apprenticeships require at least a years’ worth of unbroken employment, so some sectors with flexible employment patterns and project-based work have found it challenging to benefit from the high-quality opportunities available. That is why, as part of our Plan for Jobs, we have launched a new £7 million flexi-job apprenticeship scheme, where sectors including the creative, agriculture and construction industries can bid for funding so that their apprentice can work across a range of projects and with different employers. This will provide exciting new opportunities for apprentices and employers in these sectors – harnessing the skill and talent of today for the jobs of tomorrow as we level up opportunities for young people.
We have also announced that 40,000 students will be able to study abroad through our new Turing Scheme – helping a new generation seize the opportunities of Global Britain. Studying and working abroad provides once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for young people - but until now it has been an opportunity disproportionately enjoyed by those from the most privileged backgrounds. That is why, through our new £110 million Turing Scheme, we are giving 40,000 students the chance to study around the world – including in countries like Canada, Japan and the USA – and we will make sure that 48 per cent of places go to those from disadvantaged backgrounds. This will help to level up opportunity and share the benefits of Global Britain with a new generation.
I have held a very constructive meeting with The Interim Chief Executive of Cornwall NHS Partnership Trust, and their Head of Communications. My team and I learned a lot about the challenges of staffing in a pandemic when the staff have already been flat out for months on end. As with many employers, there are no easy solutions to short term staffing problems like the ones they are facing. However, I made the case for increasing services at Launceston and Stratton in the medium term and offered my help with whatever they require from the Government to help support the health provision in Launceston at this tough time. The public has also been urged to continue using the NHS Covid-19 App, as changes were brought in meaning fewer contacts will be advised to self-isolate. We want to reduce the disruption that self-isolation can cause for people and businesses while ensuring we are protecting those most at risk from the virus. That is why, in line with the public health advice, we are updating the app so that only contacts two days prior to a positive test will get pinged – compared to the five days under the previous version of the app. People should continue to use the app and self-isolate when asked to do so - in order to stop the spread of the virus and protect communities.