Almost half of all businesses set to hire apprentices by 2019


Almost half (44%) of businesses in the country plan to take on apprentices in the next five years, according to new research released to mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week.

This compares to just over three in ten (36%) employers when asked the same question this time last year. (2)

The study of 600 businesses also reveals that one fifth (20%) of SMEs plan to take on one or more apprentices in the next 12 months alone, with more than a third (37%) of larger businesses planning to do the same, compared to 15% and 28% respectively in February 2013. 

Around a third (32%) of those that plan to take on apprentices say this is because they are a core part of their growth strategy.

Ahead of a visit to BT, who recently announced that they would take on 730 more apprentices over the next year, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, said: “Apprentices are now a key and valued part of the workforce for most businesses large or small – and the huge increase which this Government has overseen is one of my proudest achievements.

“Given the grants available to help small businesses take on apprentices, it’s especially good that so many SMEs are embracing apprenticeships in the coming years and that apprentice recruitment now forms a key part of a businesses’ plans for sustainable growth.”

The study also shows how Apprenticeships are growing in popularity.  In fact, 43% of employers agree they would be more likely to offer an Apprenticeship than they were two years ago.  Of these nearly two in five (38%) said this was because the talent pool had widened as Apprenticeships become more popular, 33% because it had become easier to employ apprentices and 32% because they have more job roles in their business that would suit an apprentice.  Overall, 41% of employers agreed that apprentices stay in the business longer than other recruits.

Furthermore, it would appear Apprenticeships are now filtering into supply chain selection criteria. Nearly one in five (16%) SMEs and over a third (37%) of larger organisations say they have been questioned by clients or prospects about their apprentice recruitment policies. 

This finding is mirrored in a supplementary study amongst some of the companies featured in the latest City & Guilds Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers List. Key findings from the bosses surveyed include:

  • 93% advocate apprentice recruitment through their supply chain
  • 78% say they would be more likely to choose a supplier or partner if they too offered Apprenticeships, with 18% of these saying apprentice recruitment is already part of their selection criteria
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