Measures to Challenge “Outdated View” of Apprenticeships Announced

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The Government has announced a raft of measures designed to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to take on apprenticeships to include easier access to funding and standards to be introduced for training providers supplying services to the employers. This comes following recommendations made by jewellery entrepreneur, Jason Holt, who was commissioned by the Government to review apprenticeships in SMEs to consider what changes could be made to encourage smaller businesses to recruit more apprentices. He stated that “while apprenticeships offer undoubted growth opportunities for businesses, not enough SMEs are taking advantage… … because they have an outdated view of apprenticeships, are often in the dark and frequently do not receive the specific training provision their apprenticeships need.” The Government will:
  • work with SME advisors such as accountants and lawyers to encourage them to promote apprenticeships to their clients;
  • consider how to give SMEs an input into developing appropriate training provision;
  • provide improved information and increase the availability of training for apprentices;
  • agree standards for the provision of training to SMEs and what are the consequences of not meeting them;
  • improve the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) scheme, modifying eligibility restrictions, simplifying its use and giving greater access to the funding.
It is proposed that the AGE scheme will now be available to Companies that have not employed an apprentice in the previous 12 months and expanded to Companies with up to 1,000 employees. There are some real benefits in SMEs “growing their own” and incentives like these will make a difference.

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