One of the great benefits of being a member of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is it gives you a chance to be heard. This has been especially true of their representation of business owners with apprentices such as ourselves. I am proud to have been interviewed extensively for the latest FSB research into the new apprenticeship system.
The apprenticeship system has changed a lot in the last 7 years that we’ve been offering them. Most have been good changes but implemented quite badly. For example, the implementation of an independent end point assessment is a great initiative as it really helps stop both companies and training providers from abusing the apprenticeship system for cheap labour; however details of what the assessment should involve, who would provide it and how much it should cost weren’t available from the government when some people (one of our staff included) where already starting their apprenticeship.
The latest in depth study conducted by the FSB into the new apprenticeship system includes a 50 page “Fit for the future” report. A number of businesses were interviewed for this report including myself and other Dogsbody Technology staff. You can find quotes from us on pages 26, 30 and 36 should you wish 😉
Some of the results are pretty damning, such as over a quarter of businesses saying that the reforms have had a negative impact on their business and over a third of businesses not being aware of some of the funding that is available. We shouldn’t be too quick to throw the baby out with the bathwater though. The apprenticeship system is still fit for purpose, it just could be a better fit, especially for small businesses.
We have only scratched the surface of the report. I would encourage you to read the full report if you have time.
On the off chance you don’t have time to read the full report I have summarised the conclusions here…
- Small businesses are crucial to driving productivity across the country and require skills that will enable them to prosper.
- Small businesses are heavily reliant on the Level 2 and 3 frameworks meaning that the number of apprenticeships offered by small businesses may further decrease in the next couple of years.
- The cost of delivering apprenticeships in small businesses has also increased, which has had an impact on the capacity of small businesses to hire apprentices.
- There has been a deterioration in the quality of training and assessment provision across England.
- There are legitimate concerns about the future of the apprenticeship funding system, given that standards are more expensive than frameworks.
- There are significant risks that the situation will worsen as the apprenticeship system evolves.
If you are a small tech business thinking of taking on apprentices then do get in touch, we would love help you get started.