Holt Review into apprenticeships for SMEs published

The government has announced new measures to help small employers take on apprentices in response to the Holt Review published today.

In the report jeweller and social entrepreneur Jason Holt said that the main barriers to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) taking on apprentices are “lack of awareness, insufficient SME empowerment and poor process.”

The government will now work with the people SMEs look to for advice, such as lawyers and accountants, to promote apprenticeships, in response to Holt’s recommendation that SMEs need better information about the scheme.

It also committed to improving the performance of training providers by agreeing standards and the consequences of not meeting them, as Holt cited problems with the service from providers as an issue for some SMEs.

The review stressed the importance of students receiving better information from schools. It read: “Apprenticeships as a career path are not given a high profile in schools”.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said it agreed that more needs to be done to improve awareness of apprenticeships amongst young people, but added: “Whilst we welcome the specific suggestions made by Mr Holt on this issue, we believe that it should be up to schools, together with local partners including employers, to determine how best to address this challenge.

On publication of his report, Mr Holt said: “Whilst apprenticeships offer undoubted growth opportunities for businesses, not enough SMEs are taking advantage. This is because they have an outdated view of apprenticeships, are often in the dark, and frequently do not receive the specific training provision their apprentices need. My recommendations are intended to address these issues with government, employers and providers all playing a part.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Only a small minority of SMEs currently employ apprentices. Many of the rest are missing out on an effective way of growing and up-skilling their businesses.

“We hope that the measures announced today will make a difference by raising awareness of the benefits of apprenticeships amongst SMEs and making it as easy as possible for these businesses to take on an apprentice”.

Click here to download the government  response to the report.

More comment and analysis will be in the next edition of FE Week (10th Sept). Subscribe here.