More on the news today that smaller businesses are struggling to meet the government’s apprenticeship targets, as set out in a new FSB report.
FSB East Anglian chairwoman Selena Dawson has reinforced the report’s findings in an interview today, when she said local firms in her region were concerned with the potential costs of hiring an apprentice.
Dawson told her local paper, “I have spoken directly with members on this issue and it remains a frustration to small business owners that they struggle to secure skilled staff or individuals to become skilled whilst working for their business and this is more predominant in market towns and rural areas throughout Norfolk and Suffolk.
Dawson was commenting on the new FSB report, ‘Make or Break: Getting apprenticeship reform right for small businesses,’ which sets out a vision of greater government support for apprentices in SMEs, from financial incentives to better, more accessible information.
‘A more generous small employer incentive’
“Through my discussion with small business owners it has been noted that access to potential apprentices still remains an issue and also a view remains that to take on an apprentice is onerous with increased risk and cost to the business regarding implementation of strict health and safety regulations and with employment law implications.
“It is commonly believed that the benefits of taking on an apprentice will not be suitably proportionate to the cost. I therefore endorse this report and the call to Government for a more generous small employer incentive than is currently proposed.”
However, she added: “What we also need to tackle is the ‘fiction verses the reality’ and ensure greater dissemination of information demonstrating that to take on an apprentice is not an ordeal and it can be an excellent way to grow a business.”