One in four SMEs are looking to develop apprenticeship schemes

Survey suggests firms are looking to apprentices to plug the growing skills gap

Banks mining apprentices at work
Banks mining apprentices at work

Nearly one in four SMEs are looking to develop apprenticeship schemes to deliver the necessary skills in their business, a piece of research suggests.

A report from venture capitalists Albion Ventures which looked at 450 SMEs with a combined turnover of over £1.6bn.

Nearly 40% of the business questioned suggested they would focus their training resources on skilled staff, and only 27% plan to train and develop semi-skilled staff.

Despite these findings, the survey showed 23% of firms are considering launching one in the future, and only 1% are currently running a scheme that they will terminate.

Tax incentives offered appear to be boosting the take-up for schemes as 38% of respondents cited this as a key reason.

Patrick Reeve, managing partner at Albion Ventures said: “While there has certainly been progress made in the past year, it is clear that businesses still feel that their potential for growth is being hampered. Our research reveals that those ‘threshold’ businesses, who are on the cusp of taking a significant step forward, continue to be undermined by a lack of skilled staff.

“If we want UK SMEs to continue to drive the UK economy forward, we need to ensure that they have all the tools that they require to succeed.”

Emran Mian director of Social Market Foundation said: “While it is a welcome boost that apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular, it is imperative that we actively look to help those businesses, whose growth is being held back by a dearth of key skills, take the next step.”

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