DfE encourages more businesses to offer apprenticeships

DfE encourages more businesses to offer apprenticeships

Posted by Rob Tickle |  27th February 2017

Get In Go Far - the government’s flagship campaign to promote apprenticeships - has launched a new wave of activity focused on promoting apprenticeships to employers.

The campaign highlights the wide range of benefits that apprentices can bring to a business, with the aim of increasing the number of apprenticeships offered in England.

Advertising on the radio and LinkedIn will tell the stories of several businesses currently employing apprentices. This activity will also be supported by telemarketing activity carried out by the Skills Funding Agency.

New analysis in support of the campaign highlights that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are set to recruit 202,000 new apprentices in the next 12 months, helping more young people get their foot in the door at leading companies across the country.

Additional research also highlights the many ways in which apprentices boost the businesses they work for:

• more than 24,000 apprentice-employing SMEs in the private sector reported that hiring an apprentice has actually helped them win business
• 3 in 4 SMEs that employ apprentices report increased productivity thanks to apprenticeships with product/service improvement
• nearly all (96%) SMEs report at least one business benefit to hiring an apprentice

However, there is still more that needs to be done to ensure employers of all sizes gain the skills they need for their workforce. Almost three-quarters of SMEs still remain to be convinced about the merits of taking on an apprentice.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon said:

“We know that apprenticeships give people of all ages and all backgrounds a ladder of opportunity to get the skills they need. That is why more than 90% of apprentices stay in employment after their scheme ends.

“It’s fantastic to see that so many SMEs are taking advantage of the programme, ensuring they get the workforce they need but we must do more to encourage SMEs to come on board and hire more apprentices.”

Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), has backed the new government campaign. He commented:
“Small firms understand that apprenticeships make good business sense. Having apprentices can be a real asset for many smaller businesses and are vital to the future of the UK economy.

"FSB members are taking on more apprentices than ever before and are a fantastic way to enable young people to gain the skills they need to succeed. We’d encourage all small businesses to explore how an apprentice could fit in their organisation.”

The campaign is launched in advance of the government’s simplified ‘STEP’ funding arrangements for SMEs who don’t pay the apprenticeship levy (firms with a wage bill of under £3 million a year) which becomes available from 1 May 2017.

The ‘STEP’ arrangements provide 4 easy-to-understand ways non-levy-paying SMEs can access government funding for their apprentices:

• support: the government pays 90% of an SME’s training and assessment costs for the lifetime of the apprenticeship, any age, any level (up to funding band maximum)
• teen grant: an extra £1,000 grant will be paid to any SME who takes on a 16- to 18-year-old, or a 19- to 24-year-old that has previously been in care
• entrepreneur offer: businesses with under 50 staff will also see 100% of training and assessment costs paid for if they recruit an apprentice aged 16-18
• provision for additional support for SMEs who take on those with additional learning needs further support is also available

Find out more about how apprenticeships can benefit businesses on the Get In Go Far website.