Apprenticeship Changes

The Government has announced a raft of measures to challenge the “outdated view” of apprenticeships among small businesses to encourage more firms to take on apprentices. Skills minister John Hayes has outlined a number changes designed to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) offer more apprenticeships, including greater access to funding and the introduction of standards for training providers supplying services to SMEs.

New measures

Under the new measures, the Government will:

  • work with people who provide advice to SMEs, such as lawyers and accountants, to promote apprenticeships to these firms; provide better information and increase availability of training for apprentices and investigate how to give SMEs a greater say in developing appropriate training provision;
  • agree standards for the provision of training to SMEs and the consequences of not meeting them; and
  • improve the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) scheme by revising eligibility restrictions, making it simpler to use and expanding access to the funding.

Business secretary Vince Cable said: “Only a small minority of SMEs currently employ apprentices. Many are missing out on an effective way of growing and up-skilling their businesses. “We hope that the measures announced today will make a difference by raising awareness of the benefits of apprenticeships amongst SMEs and making it as easy as possible for businesses to take on an apprentice.”