Support small business to make Britain’s apprenticeships great

At the start of National Apprenticeship Week City & Guilds urge Government to remember the needs of small businesses as they reform the apprenticeship system.

09 March 2015 / Be the first to comment

To mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week [9 March 2015] Patrick Craven - City & Guilds UK’s Head of Learning, Assessment & Design Practice visited the London Stock Exchange to celebrate some of the UK’s most inspirational small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). 

The event marked the launch of the report ‘1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ which includes an article about apprenticeships and small businesses written by City & Guilds UK’s Managing Director Kirstie Donnelly. The article discusses the challenges many small businesses face when taking on an apprentice and how changes intended to make the current apprenticeship system more employer-led might affect them. 

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, UK Managing Director at City & Guilds said: ‘At City & Guilds we fully recognise the need for a system that better meets the needs of employers. However, we urge all the political parties to remember that one system will not suit every employer. 

'Smaller businesses already often struggle with limited time and resources so it’s vital that the new management and funding arrangements are easy to navigate and don’t discourage SMEs from employing an apprentice.’ 

According to the Federation of Small Business, last year SMEs employed 15.2 million people, almost half of the UK workforce. So it’s clearly vital their needs are met if we are to have a truly effective apprenticeship system in the UK.

One SME who demonstrates the importance of apprenticeships to smaller business are Xtrac, a transmission technology specialist who supply parts for motor sports and the defence sector worldwide. Xtrac have been reaping the benefits of apprenticeships for many years are also part of a group advising City & Guilds on how best to support businesses who employ apprentices.

Warren Page, Apprenticeship Manager at Xtrac said: ‘Apprentices are vital to the future of our company, they are the next generation of leaders and are often our most talented and inspiring employees. I would advise any small business to consider employing an apprentice it’s definitely worth the effort. They are hardworking and loyal and can be shaped to the needs of your business. The return on investment is incredible.’

To read ‘1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ visit the LSEG website

City & Guilds is committed to ensuring the needs of industry are represented and is supporting almost all of the apprenticeship trailblazers groups set up to shape assessment plans for the new apprenticeship standards. 

The City & Guilds Alliance also recently commissioned a piece of research ‘Remaking Apprenticeships’ which advises how best to increase the quality in apprenticeships. Read the report now.

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