Small UK business owners are expected to hire 202,000 new apprentices over the next 12 months, according to new government research.
The statistics were released as part of the Department for Education’s (DoE) new Get In Go Far campaign – an initiative designed to get more young people into small firms by highlighting the benefits to employers.
Some three in four employers currently taking on apprentices said that the recruits had improved overall productivity within a workplace, while almost all reported at least one benefit to the business.
Despite the expectation that small companies would drive an increase in apprenticeships, the study found that three-quarters of all owners remained unconvinced over the benefits.
Speaking on the announcement of the campaign, government apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon said that apprenticeships offered long-term benefits to both employers and young people, with nine in ten staying on at a company after the scheme ended.
“It’s fantastic to see so many [small business owners] are already taking advantage of the programme ensuring they get the workforce they require, but we must do more to encourage other SMEs to come on board and hire apprentices,” he said in a statement.
The Federation of Small Businesses expressed support in the campaign, as national chairman Mike Cherry confirming the “good business sense” of hiring new apprentices.
“Apprentices can be a real asset for many smaller businesses and are vital to the future of the UK economy,” Cherry added.
National Apprentice Week will take place between 6 and 10 March 2017 in England, and the government is holding events to bring employers and candidates together.
The benefits of hiring new apprentices
In a recent article for Business Advice, Graeme Donnelly, founder of company formation agent Quality Formations, said that many small business owners consider their existing workforce as more capable than apprentices, while hiring an untrained employee could be a drain on time and resources.
However, they could be overlooking the value of bringing new apprentices into their company.
“By employing somebody who is yet to be trained, you can ensure they are educated to your standards and have the right learning opportunities, giving them the right tools to do an effective job.
“Through offering an apprenticeship, you and your company can find yourself with a passionate and professional fresh pair of hands to give you much needed help when starting your company. They offer an unbiased avenue of thought, as well as delivering an untapped level of enthusiasm to assist your startup in finding its feet.”
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