HR · 8 October 2015

Micro firms don’t use the apprenticeship scheme because of the admin burden

Micro firms aren't taking on apprentices because they think they leave once trained up and are scared off by the prospect of admin
Micro firms aren’t taking on apprentices because they think they leave once trained up and are scared off by the prospect of admin

Micro firms aren’t looking into the apprenticeship scheme because of the admin burden, despite having recruitment troubles.

According to a constructaquote.com survey of 1,890 business owners, nearly 80 per cent of respondents said they struggled to find the right kind of people to work for them.

A regularly cited option, particularly for owners of small firms struggling with recruitment, is to look into the apprenticeship scheme, but 58 per cent hadn’t looked into an apprentice as an option. Over half of micro businesses said they was a skills shortage in their industry, and 28 per cent had taken on an apprentice, while 13 per cent were looking into the scheme, but the majority hadn’t been considered it an appealing option.

When asked why business owners were struggling to fill positions, 67 per cent said candidates didn’t have the right skills for the job, 48 per cent said they didn’t have the work ethic required, a third said they didn’t have enough people applying in the first place, while 15 per cent said they would rather take on people they know.

Lyndon Wood, CEO and founder of constructaquote.com, said: “Our findings show that despite many small businesses in the UK struggling to find the right skills for their companies they are still reluctant to take on apprentices.”

Of those that had opted to look into the apprenticeship scheme, 52 per cent said they had felt a responsibility to teach skills to youngsters, while 22 per cent thought it was particularly helpful as employers get help to pay for training.

Those who hadn’t wanted to take on apprentice, said it was because they leave the business once they’ve been trained up, and it was too much of an administrative burden to take one on.

Wood added that “apprenticeship schemes aren’t just for building trades or hairdressers, these days apprentices can be in any sector”.

“It is a great scheme that can help upskill your workforce and teach them about your business and industry.”

Wood himself had on the job learning and he feels it’s “the best way to get to grips with an industry”. While the prospect of a stack of paperwork to get through might deter micro business owners, already facing a great deal of their time spent on admin tasks, Wood said firms should “look again at these schemes to add talent and loyalty to their workforce and ensure that the skills they have as a trade are kept alive”.

Things to consider if you do want to hire an apprentice

You should initially check the apprenticeships framework to find one in your industry at a suitable level, then register interest with the National Apprenticeship Service, find a training organisation that offers apprenticeships for your industry and check you’re eligible for a grant, then apply.

Once you’ve got a training organisation secured, they should advertise the apprenticeship for you. When you’ve selected an apprentice, you must make an apprenticeship agreement with them.

Those that would like to employ an apprentice without the responsibility of running the apprenticeship scheme, can also look into using an apprenticeship training agency.

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Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.

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