Philip Hammond has pledged £80million to boost smaller businesses to take on apprentices
In his Spring Statement Mr Hammond said: “We recognise the challenges the new system presents to some small business looking to employ an apprentice.
“I can therefore announce today that the education secretary will release up to £80 million of funding to support small businesses in engaging apprentices.”
And smaller businesses immediate response was positive.
Professor Simon Denny, Executive Dean of Research, Impact & Enterprise, University of Northampton said: “With the Apprenticeship Levy steering many providers towards large organisations, this announcement starts to redress the balance and allow smaller businesses to get real support to effectively engage with apprenticeships.
“Increasing the numbers of apprentices in the country should be a priority as apprenticeships provide people of any background and age with new opportunities whilst giving the businesses they work for a real long term edge over their competition.”
Carl Reader is a big supporter of this announcement as he started out as an apprentice at 16.
He’s now a director, with three businesses, including d&t, a multi award-winning mid-tier accountancy firm.
Mr Reader said: “This is fantastic news for businesses and apprentices alike. As a former apprentice myself, I’ve taken on many, many apprentices across my businesses, and I truly cannot speak highly enough of their value.”
Steven Gee, CEO Close Brothers Asset Finance said: “This should act as a reminder of the benefits that apprentices can bring to SMEs in all sectors, particularly those struggling with succession planning and finding people with the right skills that they need for their businesses.
“Apprenticeship schemes are essential for UK businesses looking to grow and unlock their potential. SMEs in particular can use apprenticeships as a way of investing in their future workforce, providing valuable training and improving their long-term growth prospects in the process.”
Lee Dentith, CEO and Founder, Now Healthcare Group said: “The path from education to workplace continues to evolve and we are seeing more people choose less conventional routes into employment, so the announcements around investments to help employers roll out placements for T-level students and funding for recruiting apprentices’ is hugely welcomed.
“We are a growing digital health company and need new talent, so it will be interesting to see how the funding is allocated and how businesses like ourselves can benefit and prosper.”
Petra Wilton, director of strategy for the Chartered Management Institute said: “The Chancellor’s £80m helping hand for small businesses access the Apprenticeship Levy is brilliant news enabling more people to benefit from apprenticeships, and will be music to the ears of employers and learners.
“According to our research, 81 percent of bosses want access to the digital apprenticeships service to be extended to small businesses to drive up apprenticeship numbers. The majority also back Levy funding to be spent on apprenticeships for all ages.”
Mark Brownridge, director general of the Enterprise Investment Scheme Association said: “The two main problems that all entrepreneurs face is cash – or the lack of it – and people. The Chancellor’s announcement of an £80m apprenticeship fund in the Spring Statement today helps shore up SMEs on both fronts. Big businesses have almost exclusively had the ability to take on multiple apprenticeships for some time now, so it is heartening to see those same benefits now trickling down to the small and medium enterprises that form the backbone of the UK economy.”