By Daniel Hunter

Owner managed businesses (OMBs) have been slow to embrace the current focus on apprenticeships, according to research from the Bank of Cyprus UK, with just 10% employing one or more apprentices.

The Bank of Cyprus UK suggested that the government's Apprenticeship Grant for Employers, worth £1,500 per apprentice, is not enough. Just 14% of OMBs surveyed said that such a grant would tempt them to hire an apprentice.

A further 8% stated that they have found the process of hiring an apprentice too costly in the past, with 15% of respondents citing a lack of financial resources and time as stumbling blocks.

More than half (54%) of OMBs said they did not think they would have enough work to give to an apprentice.

Tony Leahy of Bank of Cyprus UK said: “Whilst small businesses instinctively understand the value of apprenticeships, there may be a perception that it entails a lot of red tape. The workload and cost involved in creating an apprenticeship programme may therefore outweigh the benefits for firms where time and money are precious commodities.

“In addition to financial support from government, there may be benefit in tackling this perception directly. Perhaps by tailoring the promotion of such programmes to OMBs/smaller businesses and providing them with easy access to information and resources.”