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Archive for May 2014

UK economy could receive £1.5bn boost if barriers to SMEs offering apprenticeships were lifted

UK economy could receive £1.5bn boost if barriers to SMEs offering apprenticeships were lifted

15 May 2014 09:00 GMT

According to research* from LifeSkills, created with Barclays, one in eight (13%) young people close to leaving secondary school say they will look for an apprenticeship when they leave education. If these young people were successful, they have the potential to boost the economy by £1.5 billion every year**. But, currently two thirds of SMEs, which account for 99%*** of all businesses in the UK and employ 24.3 million people, say they can’t offer apprenticeships, with one in ten blaming the red tape and costs associated with setting up****.

  • One in eight (13%) young people (14-15 year olds) want an apprenticeship which could generate £1.5 billion for UK economy
  • Currently two thirds (64%) of SMEs say they aren’t able to offer an apprenticeship
  • One in ten SME employers cite red tape and costs for not offering an apprenticeship (10% and 11% respectively)

The research from LifeSkills surveyed HR decision makers in SMEs across the UK about their attitudes towards work experience and apprenticeships. Encouragingly, it found that nearly eight in ten (77%) SMEs would like to hire young people who have completed work experience or an apprenticeship, showing an appetite for work ready candidates. However, the research also demonstrated the troubles SMEs say they face in offering these schemes. These perceptions persist despite positive measures to alleviate them such as funding for businesses that offer these programmes.

Research shows the top five barriers SMEs say they face in offering apprenticeships and work experience:

  • Likely cost to the business
  • Red tape internally around setting up a programme
  • Lack of internal team resource to set up and manage a programme
  • Not relevant to my business
  • Unable to find suitable candidates

While two thirds of SMEs say they are struggling to offer apprenticeships or work experience, HR decision makers do consider young people who have completed such pre-employment training as highly attractive employees. Two thirds (67%) said it made candidates keen to learn and develop professionally. A third (35%) stated employees with such experience were happy to contribute to the business beyond their role and half (50%) said they made the young person ambitious.

Research shows the top five attributes businesses associate with young people who have completed work experience or apprenticeships:

  • Keen to learn and develop professionally – 67%
  • Ambitious for their career – 50%
  • Happy to contribute to the business beyond their direct role – 35%
  • Engaged with the business – 31%
  • Appreciation of how a business is structured and run – 27%

Kirstie Mackey, Head of LifeSkills at Barclays said: “SMEs are the UK’s life blood when it comes to offering employment, but this research shows that they still perceive barriers to be able to offer on the job training or to help young people be work-ready. Not only does it create a skills gap that holds back a generation from realising their potential but also means a potential productivity gain of over £1.5 billion to the UK economy goes untapped.

“Businesses need support to connect with education providers and young people to offer the quality pre-employment learning opportunities that are so desperately needed. It’s why we launched LifeSkills, to connect young people to businesses that wish to offer work experience or apprenticeships but also to raise awareness of the need for more businesses to be able to offer such programmes. Only by working together will we find sustainable solutions to the challenge of youth employment.”

LifeSkills created with Barclays, was designed to help businesses connect with young people before they leave education to help them become work ready. It has practical, free resources for teachers so that young people can learn valuable skills in the classroom before they go into a business. A work experience matching portal has also been developed to connect business young people with local opportunities. For businesses looking for an apprentice, LifeSkills offers help in accessing funding, finding a candidate and training them, as well as offering a mentor through to completion of the programme. To find out more or register go to barclayslifeskills.com

Notes to Editors:

*Omnibus research of 2,000 14-25 year olds undertaken February 2013.

** Calculations based on ONS data that shows there are 1,393,000 14-15 year olds in the UK in 2014. 13% said that an apprenticeship would be top of their list.. 13% of 1,393,000 is 181,090. According to NAS, apprentices bring in £214 a week in boost to productivity etc. (please see link for more details). In a year this equates to £9,630 when you allow for 7 weeks not working. In addition, according to the apprenticeship statistics from the House of Commons dated 10/02/2014 there were 25,000 16 year olds who took up an apprenticeship (i.e. straight after school) in the most recent recorded year (2012/2013). To account for this 25,000 has been removed from 181,090 = 156,090. This multiplied by £9,630 = £1,503,146,700.

***http://www.fsb.org.uk/stats

**** Omnibus research of 500 HR decision makers within organisations of 1-250 employees undertaken December 2013.

Is your company planning to take on any young person aged under 25 as an apprentice or to offer work experience to them in the next year?

Work experience

357

71.40 %

Apprentices

182

36.40 %

None of these

67

13.40 %

Total

500

100.00 %

What is the biggest barrier to taking on a young person under 25 as an apprentice?

Not relevant to my business

42

8.40 %

Lack of internal team resource to set up and manage a programme

62

12.40 %

Likely cost to the business

56

11.20 %

Red tape internally around setting up a programme

51

10.20 %

Unable to find suitable candidates

97

19.40 %

Don’t know how to build relationships with local schools or technical colleges

16

3.20 %

None – we offer either work experience or apprenticeships to under 25s

176

35.20 %

Total

500

100.00 %

What attributes do you associate with entry level recruits aged under 25 that have had either work experience or an apprenticeship?

Engaged with the business

153

30.60 %

Committed to helping the business innovate and grow

96

19.20 %

Happy to contribute to the business beyond their direct role

173

34.60 %

Ambitious for their career

251

50.20 %

Keen to learn and develop professionally

334

66.80 %

Understand about the wider industry and how it affects the business

89

17.80 %

Appreciation of how a business is structured and run

134

26.80 %

Total

500

100.00 %

Do you agree or disagree with the statement: ‘Entry level recruits who have completed either work experience or an apprenticeship are a source of talent for my company’

Agree

385

77.00 %

Disagree

52

10.40 %

Not relevant – I’ve never hired an entry level recruit

63

12.60 %

Total

500

100.00 %

Did you/would you consider applying for an apprenticeship?

14 to 15

16 to 25

Yes, it is/was top of my list

48

12.9 %

162

10.0 %

Yes, it’s something I will look into/did look into

195

52.6 %

650

40.0 %

No, I have never thought about it

121

32.6 %

742

45.6 %

Other (please specify)

7

1.9 %

72

4.4 %

Total

371

100.0 %

1626

100.0 %

LifeSkills, created with Barclays, is an education programme that aims by 2015 to equip one million young people aged 11-19 with the skills they need for work and connect young people to work experience opportunities at Barclays and beyond. LifeSkills builds on the success of the Barclays Money Skills programme and the Barclays Apprenticeship Programme.

LifeSkills provides 11-19 year olds with access to resources in three key modules:

  • Work Skills including interview skills, CV writing and information on choosing a career.
  • People Skills including interpersonal skills, self-confidence, communication, self-awareness and personal presentation skills.
  • Money Skills providing financial know-how which included managing a budget, calculating percentages and understanding on how lending works.

The resources will be delivered in school by teachers, in branch at sessions organised by Barclays employees or accessed directly by young people at www.barclayslifeskills.com. Those schools who take part can access non-branded lesson plans and resources. Barclays is also offering the support of over 10,000 LifeSkills volunteers who are available to come into schools to help deliver these lessons.

Once a student completes the LifeSkills modules, schools will be able to unlock the work experience matching portal. This will allow teachers to match pupils to local work experience opportunities from Barclays and like-minded businesses.

LifeSkills forms part of Barclays long-term commitment to improving the skills of the next generation to help them achieve a secure and successful future, alongside the already successful Barclays Money Skills and Apprenticeship Programmes.

For further information about LifeSkills visit www.barclayslifeskills.com

www.facebook.com/YourLifeSkills  @YourLifeSkills

 

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