Calls to increase apprenticeship support and incentives for SMEs

A report published by the National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses (FSB) has suggested that, under increased Government support, UK businesses could deliver approximately 1 million more apprenticeships.

According to the FSB, approximately one in four Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the UK currently employ apprentices – and a further one in four have their sights set on employing apprentices in the near future.

FSB chairman Mike Cherry said that the UK was facing a “make-or-break moment,” after a report suggested that, amongst Britain’s 4.7 million SMEs, there was potential to ‘double’ the number of apprenticeships on offer – should the Government successfully deliver increased support.

He said: “While many small firms are committed to apprenticeships, many more continue to be worried about the time and personal commitment required.

“Smaller businesses are taking on more apprentices than ever before. What’s more, a quarter of our members say they are considering employing an apprentice in the future.

“This presents a huge opportunity and is great news for vocational training, which has become an increasingly attractive option for young people put off by the rising cost and uncertain returns of a university degree.

“We need the Government to hit the right balance between incentives and support,” he said.