Small businesses in Wandsworth unsure about effectiveness of new apprenticeship grant


The funding boost was announced in yesterday’s budget.


By Jaskaran Bahia, Fran Le Noury, Amy Martin and George Odling

Wandsworth companies are doubtful about the effectiveness of the government’s £190million funding boost for the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers scheme (AGE) announced in yesterday’s Budget.

Chancellor George Osborne hopes the extension of £1,500 grants to businesses taking on apprentices will support 100,000 extra young workers, but for many small businesses the incentive is lacking.

Simon Barney, Operations Manager at Multi-Trade, said: “We would certainly look to engage with apprentice schemes in the future, although I’m not sure that a £1,500 grant would be the main incentive.”

London lags behind the rest of the country in terms of apprenticeship opportunities, with think tank reports calling for 300,000 more to tackle youth unemployment.

While the scheme appears to be working for larger businesses, the new plans are to focus exclusively on smaller businesses from 2015.

“It’s encouraging to see the Government taking steps towards combating youth unemployment in the Budget,” said Chris Jones, Chief Executive at the City & Guilds Group.

“Businesses of all sizes must be empowered to make the most of this investment, by taking on apprentices, particularly as they fight to grow in tough markets and struggle to fill skills gaps.

“We cannot assume businesses have the time, the resources have the time, the resources, or the will to deal with extra red tape.”

Photo courtesy of HM Treasury, with thanks.

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