By Maximilian Clarke
Business secretary Vince Cable yesterday announced a new drive to encourage firms to take on apprenticeships in a bid to combat the twin crises of low skills and high unemployment among the UK’s youth.
Recent research from the British Chambers of Commerce suggests that just 15% of firms intend to take on apprenticeships. Commenting this morning, the British Chambers’ Policy Director, Dr Adam Marshall welcomed government’s stance, encouraging government to actively incentivise firms to take on apprentices:
“Businesses do see the benefits of apprenticeships. For many business owners they are a critical way to train up young people and adults that then help grow their firms. However, smaller companies often shy away from taking on apprentices. They worry about the initial costs involved, the skill levels of candidates, and the potential risks to their business, particularly at a time when employing people is tough due to worries about the economy.
“For some time we have been telling ministers that small firms must be incentivised to take on apprentices, so we welcome the government’s moves to strip away some of the obstacles that have made it hard for smaller firms to get engaged. Health and safety constraints, inflexible teaching frameworks, and high upfront costs often deter companies from taking on apprentices. By reducing red tape, and incentivising businesses to take the plunge, the government is offering real help to firms and apprentices alike. The announcement of an external review of apprenticeship standards and frameworks is a positive step, and will be critical to making apprenticeships flexible and relevant to employers across the country.”
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