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Apprenticeships: support for small businesses - Turn2us

Department for Business Innovation & Skills website (link opens in a new window)The Government is to bring in additional support to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in recruiting apprenticeships.

This follows the publication of a report by jeweller and social entrepreneur, Jason Holt, who was commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) to review ways to make apprenticeships simpler and more accessible for SMEs.

Key recommendations

Mr Holt's research pointed to a lack of awareness about the benefits of taking apprentices on as well as how to recruit and train them. They are not given a high profile in schools and SMEs are often put off apprenticeships by a lack of coherent and consistent information. This is compounded by the fact that SMEs, more than large businesses, depend on responsive training providers and do not always receive good service.

His main recommendations are:

  • Communication: raising awareness of the benefits of apprenticeships - Developing and delivering - with the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) taking a leading role - better and more consistent messaging about an apprenticeship being both positive for SMEs and the economy at large, and a career decision that is as valid as going into Higher Education.
  • Empowerment: SMEs to get the best from their training providers - Rebalancing the purchasing power and access to information on the side of the SME to ensure that they are in control of what providers deliver, and that providers operate in a more competitive environment.
  • Simplification: ownership and responsibility for the apprenticeships programme and removing barriers - Reviewing the delivery landscape to ensure that roles and responsibilities between the many parts of Government and
    related agencies involved in apprenticeships are clear, coherent and optimal.

Government response

New measures to improve apprenticeships for SMEs that the Government is to put in place include:

  • Improving communication about schemes through groups who advise small and medium employers, including lawyers and accountants
  • Better information for businesses on getting the right type of training for their apprentices.
  • New standards for training providers in order to improve their performance.
  • Improving the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (link opens in a new window), making it simpler and more accessible.

Read the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills news story about apprenticeships (link opens in a new window)

For more information on apprenticeships, see the National Apprenticeship Service website (link opens in a new window)

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