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Call for more support to help small business owners take on apprentices

A Coventry plasterer has called for more support to help small business owners take on apprentices (@coventrycollege).

Stuart Roberts, of SD Roberts Plastering, says some small businesses are being put off employing trainees due to insurance costs and having to cover wages.

Mr Roberts recently took on a trainee as part of a Coventry College traineeship, which is fully funded by the Government.

But he said that if more traineeships such as this were on offer, more young people and traders would be able to benefit.

Curtis Taylor, 17, completed an eight-week Coventry College plastering traineeship with Stuart at SD Roberts Plastering last month.

Following a successful traineeship, Curtis will start a two-year apprenticeship from September with SD Roberts Plastering.

Curtis, from Coventry, said:

“I decided to do a traineeship in plastering to see what it was like, and where it might take me.

“I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, so I thought I would try this to see how it went.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Stuart on a lot of different jobs and I’m so pleased that I will be able to continue now as an apprentice.”

Stuart said the traineeship has helped the business on a range of plastering and renovation jobs.

“We were looking for an extra pair of hands to help us out as we have been very busy,” he said.

“Curtis took to it like a duck to water and he has been a great help.

“The traineeship has provided a good insight into the plastering trade, and Curtis will now be trained in all aspects of plastering to become a fully qualified plasterer.”

Stuart said he would encourage other small business owners to take part in similar schemes.

“The traineeship provides an opportunity to see if the job will be a good fit and it covers the cost of the wages during the scheme,” he added.

“It can be difficult as a sole trader to take on a new member of staff, even as an apprentice or trainee, as your insurance costs will increase.

“But schemes such as this provide an opportunity to test the water and there are benefits for employers and trainees.”

A new programme of traineeships in a range of professions will be starting at Coventry College in September.

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