SMEs failing to embrace productive apprentice workforces

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across the UK are failing to embrace the benefits of productive apprentice workforces, according to a new survey.

The study, conducted by The Interserve Society, revealed a distinct lack of awareness of apprenticeship schemes among SMEs.

Only 32 per cent of SME respondents told Interserve that they had heard of Higher or Degree-level apprenticeships.

However, of those that were aware of, and did employ, apprentices, over a third of SMEs said that apprentice recruits were amongst the most productive in their workforce.

In fact, 37 per cent of SMEs told the survey that apprentices were the most productive of all their recruits.

Commenting on the results of the study, Adrian Ringrose, chief executive of the Interserve Society, said, “This report provides a snapshot of attitudes and perceptions towards apprenticeships among young people, parents and employers at a time when the forthcoming Apprenticeship Levy has firmly pushed the topic onto the business agenda.

“However, as the report shows, much more needs to be done to change perceptions and raise awareness of apprenticeship schemes.

“Business, government and educators must all work together to better inform parents and young people about apprenticeships, in order to ensure that these schemes can become a driving force for skills and sustainable careers.”