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18 Oct 2017 | 1 comment

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82% of SMEs say apprenticeships are the solution to the UK's skills gap

Posted on in Cycles News

Apprentices are the solution to addressing the UK's skills gap, say 82 per cent of UK SMEs.

The Close Brothers Business Barometer is a quarterly survey that questions over 900 UK and RoI SME owners and senior management across a range of sectors and regions.

The results of this survey found that one in five small to medium sized businesses have their own apprentice scheme while 58 per cent feel it's not right for their business; the remaining 22 per cent cite lack of affordability as the reason why they don't have one of their own.

SMEs firmly believe that apprenticeships are a viable substitute to university, with 76 per cent of business owners agreeing with the statement ‘apprenticeships are a valuable alternative to university'.

The number of school leavers choosing apprenticeships over university has risen by over 20 per cent since 2010, according to the research. Apprenticeships provide an opportunity for people to learn while they earn and get the experience they need to excel in their chosen career.

Nationally, 49 per cent of business owners answered ‘yes' to the question ‘if assistance was available either from either the government or the private sector, would you participate in an apprenticeship scheme?'.

Take on an apprentice for less

With the recent changes to apprenticeship funding, it can now cost even less to take on an apprentice.

Whether you already have a member of staff in your business who wants to enhance their technical knowledge, or you're looking to take on a new member of staff and give them the skills they need to thrive, an Apprenticeship could be the right solution.

There have been significant changes to the way apprenticeship funding works, including the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy and more support for smaller employers.

Larger employers (with an annual wage bill of over £3 million) are now required to pay 0.5% of their wage bill into a levy to be used towards funding apprenticeships.

Smaller employees, (with an annual wage bill under £3 million), do not have to pay a levy. They also benefit from additional funding, paying just 10% of apprenticeship costs, while the Government pays 90%.

This means that putting an employee through the Intermediate Cycle Maintenance apprenticeship now costs just £500 in employer contributions, with a 20% discount for ACT members, making it just £400.

The Advanced Cycle Maintenance apprenticeship now costs just £995,or just £900 for ACT members.

Better still, companies with fewer than 50 employees that take on apprentices aged between 16 and 18 will have 100% of their training costs paid for.

To find out more click here, contact ATG Training on or call 01296 737 800.

Reader Comments (1)

Just to add, if you have less than 50 employees and take on an Apprentice before their 19th birthday, Government will provide an additional financial incentive payment of 1,000 paid in two part. The first after six weeks training has been delivered and the second at the end of the Apprenticeship.

Stephen Smyth, 19 Oct 2017

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