Posted by Carly Roper on Monday 13 February 2012
The British Chambers of Commerce have this week published their report: “Business is Good for Apprentices”, showcasing case studies of Apprentices and their employers. There has been an increase in the number of Apprenticeships undertaken this year, with official statistics showing an increase of 63% on the previous year, however Chambers across the country are joining forces to encourage even more businesses to take on an Apprentice in 2012.
John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:
“Apprenticeships are good for business and good for individuals. They are an important way of improving the UK’s skills base, and giving young people opportunities beyond the classroom, particularly in the face of record youth unemployment. But for firms too they bring benefits, providing them with the skills they need to grow and build a successful business. BCC research* demonstrates that many of those firms (82%) who took on an Apprentice did so to increase their skills capacity. This is why we welcome the government’s commitment to cutting the red tape involved with taking on Apprentices, and cash incentives for firms will make a real difference to the upfront costs they face.
“People are at the heart of every thriving company. Businesses are in fact the single largest investor in training in the UK. Developing the capability of our workforce is crucial for individual companies as well as the UK's economic competitiveness. Apprenticeships are good for business, and good for Britain. They provide individuals with the first step on a career and businesses with future employees and growth, in turn bolstering the economy.”
St Helens Manufacturing businesses are outperforming the national trend with the latest Quarterly Economic Survey for St Helens showing that training budgets were revised upwards for the third quarter in succession, now standing at +23%, suggesting manufacturing firms are trying to address some of the skills shortages within the industry. The investment in training by St Helens manufacturing firms is higher than nationally (+10%) and regionally (+13%).
Kath Boullen, Chief Executive at St Helens Chamber, commented: “Here in St Helens we are championing the message that Apprenticeships are good for business and it is encouraging to see that our local manufacturers are investing in staff training.
“Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of areas and, as well as providing much needed employment opportunities to our young people, can provide real benefits to businesses. Apprentices are making an active choice to learn on the job so they tend to be eager, motivated and flexible and loyal to the company that has invested in them.
“Research suggests that employing an Apprentice can provide payback in less than two years. They are paid a minimum of £100 per week and their training is fully funded, so they are a cost effective way of developing your workforce.
“As an added incentive the Chamber currently has access to funding from European Social Fund via St Helens Council, which can provide a subsidy of £2500 towards wages for businesses recruiting a 16-24 year old Apprentice.”
A range of financial assistance for businesses employing Apprentices was announced this week by Prime Minister David Cameron. From this week, businesses and training providers can bid for a share of £6m from the Higher Apprenticeship Fund, which will support the development of thousands of new Higher Apprenticeships in sectors including aerospace, energy and renewable technologies.
The Prime Minister also opened the bidding for the new Employer Ownership pilot, inviting employers in England to apply to access up to £250m of public investment and secure more control over how skills training is designed and delivered. St Helens Chamber is currently looking at how we can secure some of that funding to help businesses in St Helens.
He also announced that from this week, small firms will be offered an incentive of £1,500 to hire their first young Apprentices. This is expected to support up to 40,000 new Apprenticeships over the next year.
For more information about how Apprenticeships can benefit your business, access to funding, and the range of Apprenticeships available please call Debbie Hillon or Daniel Manchester on 01744 742000, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sthelenschamber.com/apprenticeships
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