Overcoming the Three Major Challenges for Small Businesses Recruiting and Training Apprentices

In a recent article FE Week discussed Overcoming the Three Major Challenges for Small Businesses Recruiting and Training Apprentices. According to this article “over the last two years there's been a dramatic fall in the number of small businesses that have recruited, and trained apprenticeships within their businesses.”

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

In April of this year, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) published its research on apprenticeships called "Fit for the future" which found three major challenges that small businesses had in recruiting and training apprentices within their business; finding an apprentice, shortage of time and managing the 20% off the job training.

As a local training provider we work with a lot of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as national companies and we believe that, whilst SMEs may find the aforementioned challenges a barrier to employing Apprentices, with the right approach and support taking on an Apprentice is an easy task for employers of all sizes!

We would like to dispel some of these barriers with a few ways our Apprenticeships can help large employers and SMEs alike:

  1. Finding an apprentice

We work closely with employers who have an Apprenticeship vacancy to help fill their role. Last month we received around 700 online applications for our Apprenticeship vacancies. Our in house Recruitment Team interview every candidate to get to know where their skills lie to enable us to better match suitable candidates to each vacancy. Every employer with an Apprenticeship vacancy will receive a range of CVs specifically selected for their role and will receive the help of the Recruitment Team to contact each candidate to arrange an interview. Once the successful candidate has been selected our Recruitment Team will continue to support the employer to arrange a start date for their new Apprentice.

  1. Shortage of time
  2. Each of our Apprentices are assigned an Assessor. The Assessor’s role is to guide the Apprentice through their Apprenticeship learning and provide support to the employer should they have any questions about their Apprentice or their training. This is done through reviews with the Assessor, employer and Apprentice every 8 weeks. Even though you will be required to invest some time in the training of your Apprentice, Apprentices bring new energy, ideas and enthusiasm to the workplace, which has a knock-on effect on other employees, increasing productivity across the business.

  3. Managing the 20% off the job training

Many employers think of 20% off the job training as time that the Apprentice will not spend working however this is not the case. Our Apprentices only attend our training centre for ½ day each week (in many cases attendance is only required until all exams are completed), the rest of the 20% off the job training takes place within the workplace. A lot of off the job training will appear naturally when training an Apprentice. As long as the training is relevant to the Apprentice’s framework or standard, teaches new knowledge, skills and behaviours and takes place in the Apprentice’s normal working hours then it counts as off the job training! More information can be found about off the job training on the Government website.

Photo of Laura Murray

Laura Murray


IT & Design Officer