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The scheme hopes to reach industries locked out of traditional apprenticeships by offering flexible employment patterns and shorter term roles.

film maker using a camera
The scheme will allow apprentices in theatre, film and TV to work with multiple companies

Steven Van

The creative industry is amongst several sectors set to benefit from a flexible apprenticeship scheme.

The Flexi-Job Apprenticeship Scheme (FJAS) will allow an apprentice to work with different employers across a range of projects during their enrolment. 

The Department of Education (DfE) will make £7m available to support the fund across the next two years.


Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said he is “thrilled” apprentices and employers in freelance industries such as theatre, film and TV will benefit from the scheme.

The new scheme is designed to reach sectors that frequently offer freelance or shorter term roles. Sections of the creative industry have traditionally been locked out of apprenticeships, which are typically at least 12 months long.

Film producer David Puttman said the scheme’s recognition of the creative industry’s specific employment patterns is “hugely welcome”.

“Our creative industries are a key driver of GDP and highly skilled jobs, a role that’s become ever more important in the wake of the pandemic.

Royal National Theatre's Workforce Development Manager Kath Geraghty believes the scheme will broaden the experiences available to creative apprentices.

“It will enable a wider range of employers in the sector to take on apprentices and prepare them to work in a sector where freelancing and project-based work are the norm.”

Atypical employment 

The initiative is the latest to bolster employment opportunities in the creative industry, following the £6m Creative Kickstart programme.

Cultural & Creative Skills Policy and Development Director Sara Whybrew said FJAS will differ to Creative Kickstart by retaining some aspects of traditional apprenticeships.

Apprentices will be able to work for different productions and companies simultaneously or on a project-by-project basis.

Multiple companies can apply to take the role of "employment host" through a single apprenticeship, Whybrew added.

Apprentices will complete on-the-job training with their employment hosts as well as off-the-job training with a dedicated provider.

Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Gillian Keegan said this model will help build a diverse talent pipeline for the creative industries.

Completed apprenticeships will be accredited with a certification of occupational competence akin to the standard apprenticeship model.

Flexi-job agencies

DfE's £7m investment will set up flexi-job apprenticeship agencies to facilitate the scheme.

Agencies will be responsible for setting up apprenticeships between participating organisations. 

Manchester International Festival’s Jocelyne Underwood said the creative industry has “very little experience” in facilitating apprenticeships despite big appetite to do so.

“This fund should spur the market on as a catalyst.”

Organisations can now apply to establis a flexi-job agency, with grants between £100,000 and £1m available.

The first flexible apprenticeships are expected to start early in 2022.