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The chancellor’s “returnerships” scheme has been slammed as “all spin and no substance” after the government confirmed it will only be a marketing brand to signpost older workers to existing courses.

Jeremy Hunt told the House of Commons during Wednesday’s budget that education secretary Gillian Keegan “will introduce a new kind of apprenticeship targeted at the over-50s who want to return to work”.

“They will be called returnerships, an offering alongside skills bootcamps and sector-based work academies,” he added.

However, Treasury documents indicated that rather than offering a new course, “returnerships will promote accelerated apprenticeships, sector-based work academy programme (SWAP) placements and skills bootcamps” – programmes which have been available for years.

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