Starting a new business? Get 40% off our accountancy services for 3 months! 😀

x

How do you feel about taking on apprentices in your small business – or, in future, offering work placements to students studying for T levels?

If you’re keen, it seems you’re in the minority. Separate studies by the Department of Education and the FSB show neither option seems to appeal at present, and lack of SME funding and support seems to be to blame.

 

Apprenticeships on the Wane

Latest figures from the Department for Education show the number of people starting apprenticeships in England has fallen by a worrying 61%, following the introduction of the apprenticeship levy and changes to apprenticeship funding for small businesses. The number of under 19s starting apprenticeships has fallen by 41% from last year.

Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), believes changes in apprenticeship funding may be partly responsible for this fall.

“It’s early days in the Government’s apprenticeship programme, but these figures do coincide with an increase in the compulsory employer contribution and a greater focus on levy-paying businesses over smaller employers,” he said.

“This is a significant programme of reform which will take time to bed in, but there must be a real concerted effort to enable employers to take on apprentices. As the Government has highlighted, apprenticeships are crucial if we are to tackle the skills shortage and increase the social mobility of our young people.

“Small businesses have a key role in providing apprenticeships in across the whole of England and particularly for younger workers, with 70 per cent of those firms that have an apprentice taking on 16-19-year olds. Government should reconsider the current funding arrangements and incentives for taking on younger apprentices, recognising that this group needs more support as they move into the workplace for the first time.”

 

Will T Levels Be Given a Fair Trial?

Meanwhile, the FSB has done research of its own into SMEs’ views on the new T levels, the new technical education qualifications due to be rolled out in 2020. The plan is that T level courses will include a compulsory minimum 45-day work placement for every student.

However, no support has been earmarked directly for small businesses to provide these work placements as yet – and the FSB found that only 6% of small businesses in England would be willing to offer work placements under current plans for T-levels without any incentive. As small businesses account for 60% of all private sector employment in the UK, this is a concern.

But the current plan for T levels fails to explain how businesses will be incentivised and supported in offering these long tern placements.

“The Government’s plan fails to address the needs of small businesses who will be vital to the successful delivery of T-levels. If small firms don’t get the right support, this will fall at the first hurdle,” warns Mike Cherry.

“We absolutely recognise the value of the work experience placement and the integral role it plays in technical education routes for 16-18-year olds, but at the end of the day, this is a big ‘ask,’ particularly on small employers. Taking on a young person for a placement of this nature is a big responsibility, and over several months will mean the business will need to adapt to accommodate them.

You’ve got to remember small businesses are already doing their best to invest in apprentices, and there’s only so much extra time and resource you can give to support someone from outside of the business; particularly someone who is new to the workplace.

“For T-levels to work for both student and business, there needs to be clear incentive and guidance for small businesses to offer placements. It will not be sufficient for providers to create employer engagement strategies without businesses that are willing and prepared to host these students.”

About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

More posts by this author
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Read more posts...

Umbrella Companies for Self-Employed Contractors

When you set up in business as a contractor you might either work as a sole trader or as a limited company….

Read More

Get Ready for Small Business Saturday UK 2022

Small Business Saturday started in the US in 2010, on the first Saturday following Thanksgiving. It aims to encourage shoppers to consider…

Read More

Architects and Tax

Architecture is a highly diverse sector when it comes to tax. It’s partly down to the type of businesses that carry out…

Read More
Back to Blog...

Confirm Transactions

The number of monthly transactions you have entered based on your turnover seem high. A transaction is one bookkeeping entry such as a sale, purchase, payment or receipt. Are you sure this is correct?

Yes, submit my quote
No, let me change it

Please contact our sales team if you’re unsure

VAT Returns

It is unlikely you will need this service, unless you are voluntarily registered for VAT.

Are you sure this is correct?

Yes, the business is VAT registered
No, let me change it

Call us on 020 3355 4047 if you’re not sure.

Bookkeeping

You only need this service if you want us to complete the bookkeeping on your behalf.

Would you prefer to complete your own bookkeeping?

Yes
No

Call us on 020 3355 4047 if you’re not sure.