Government plans to cut red-tape and encourage small firms to take on more apprentices has been backed by the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP).

Graham Hoyle OBE, chief executive of the AELP, said: “We believe that today’s announcements represent a good response to the feedback that AELP members have been offering on what would persuade more businesses to sign up to the programme.”

The Government has said they will offer employers with 50 members of staff or less an incentive payment of up to £1,500 in order to take on a young apprentice aged 16 to 24.

Mr Hoyle added: “It is also important that we expand the capacity of preparatory training programmes to enable more young people who left school with few or no qualifications to embark on a full apprenticeship.”

AELP has also clarified their position on apprenticeships for older and existing employees.

The Association says they have sent a pre-Aututmn Statement submission to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Treasury, which points out that apprenticeships have never been “exclusively for the benefit of young people as a form of job creation.”

The comment follows the announcement that there is now more than a million young people not in employment.

The AELP submission says: “The apprenticeship brand must not be damagingly stretched by making it a programme for the non-employed or NEETs who are still too far away from meeting the often demanding selection criteria quite properly laid down by employers.”

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