SMEs can offer A-level students a clear path » SMEInsider

SMEs can offer A-level students a clear path

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has chosen A-level results day to urge those youngster considering their move to think about following an apprenticeship. The call comes a week after an FSB survey, which showed that small businesses are most likely to recruit apprentices from outside the business, with 79 per cent of FSB members’ recruiting externally.

Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: “I would like to congratulate everyone who is getting their results today. With an increasingly diverse range of education options open to them, I look forward to seeing what this year’s school leavers will go on to achieve.

“While A-level results day always brings talk of university places, we should not forget the value of practical, vocational education to employers and individuals. Vocational training has become an increasingly attractive option for young people keen to earn as they learn and who may be put off by the rising cost and uncertain returns of a university degree.

“Smaller businesses are taking on more apprentices than ever before. What’s more, a quarter (24%) of our members say they are considering employing an apprentice in the future. We know these apprentices tend to be aged between 16 and 19 years old and over two thirds (67%) of those training go onto longer term employment in the business, making an apprenticeship a great way to start your working life.”


Employers keen to employ apprentices

Last week’s FSB survey findings show that smaller businesses are providing a reliable pathway into full time employment for their apprentices. Commitment to giving young people training opportunities was found to be a key motivator for why smaller firms employ an apprentice. That research was followed by a survey earlier this week from Positive Outcomes, which suggested that 92% of employers are willing to pay more than the typical apprenticeship wage, provided they’re matched with the right candidate.

As part of the study, employers were asked, ‘Are you prepared to offer more money than the standard apprenticeship wage for the right apprentice?’ to which 92% said ‘yes’, with only 8% responding ‘no.

Ryan Longmate, managing director of Positive Outcomes, said: “The combined research findings have certainly thrown up an interesting suggestion. That, despite young people thinking otherwise, employers are open minded when it comes to pay and that, should the right candidate come along, they’re willing to pay more than the standard wage.”

He continued: “A key part of the service we offer is to match the right candidate to the right opportunity. We pride ourselves on sourcing apprentices who are well fitted to their prospective employer. Consequently, you will often find that firms recognise the abilities on offer from their apprentice and are subsequently willing to offer them a better wage than the apprentice may initially have anticipated.”