• Handpicked Harrogate

Small Businesses ‘Realising the Benefit’ of Employing Apprentices

One in four small enterprise employers now believe the ability to hire apprentices on a part-time basis would be beneficial to growthUK employers are beginning to realise the benefits that apprentices can bring to their business, according to a report by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) published today.

The survey of 501 small business owners across all sectors found that 39% took on at least one new apprentice within the last 12 months, and while this figure drops to 16% when micro-businesses are considered, 43% of all small to medium sized companies retained their apprentice as full-time member of staff.

The figures suggest that apprentices are becoming more of an attractive option for businesses with 25% of respondents having said that they plan to take on at least one apprentice over the next year.

Despite the positive trend, concerns have been raised over possible barriers preventing businesses from employing more apprentices.

28% cited the lack of need to bring in apprentices in as their biggest barrier, 14% said that they were unable to afford them, while 18% held a preference to bring in workers who are already skilled.

Mark Farrar, chief executive of the Association of Accounting Technicians, said:

“Becoming an apprentice brings a positive impact not only to the individual, but also to businesses and the wider industry that they are employed in.

“They are becoming increasingly popular for companies of all shapes and sizes, and also across all sectors – not just those traditionally associated with apprenticeship schemes such as construction and engineering – but also professions including accountancy and IT.”