Nearly 90 per cent of businesses see apprentices as key to the future success of their organisation over next two years, according to a report launched by vocational education firm City & Guilds.
The report, Building Business Through Apprenticeships, is based upon a survey of more than 500 employers across the UK, and examines the main barriers companies currently face in creating more opportunities for apprentices.
The findings reveal that 52 per cent of those companies who already recruit apprentices believe that Apprenticeship offer greater value than hiring university graduates. And 66 per cent of employers believe that Apprenticeships are vital to ensure that the UK can compete in the changing global economy.
Chris Jones, CEO and director general of City & Guilds, said: “Many businesses, large or small, know that Apprenticeships can transform their organisation, but unless the barriers preventing more employers, particularly SMEs, from hiring an apprentice are addressed, there will continue to be a gap between supply and demand.”
The report also outlines that eight out of ten employers have experienced barriers to hiring apprentices; 25 percent argue the process is too bureaucratic; 26 percent don’t feel there are relevant apprentice schemes for their business and 20 per cent feel the current economic climate makes it too risky to commit to an Apprenticeship programme.
As the education system undergoes its biggest shake up in years, the Government is recognising that Apprenticeships are key for the economy to fight its way out of recession.
The Government has increased the funding and support to the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) to enable an additional 75,000 new Apprenticeships starts per year.
However, “it is not enough for the Government to simply supply funding – as welcome as that may be. It’s about collective action, as there are many constraints on businesses currently and barriers around hiring apprentices,” warned Mr Jones.
City & Guilds, in response to the Government’s increase in funding, has launched a campaign that aims to ensure one million Apprenticeships start by summer 2013.
Mr Jones added: “With our increasingly ageing population, core industry skills and quality of experience will continue to leave the UK workforce. City & Guilds is leading a new kind of revolution to help solve the challenges of Apprenticeships so that more employers can offer places.”