28/10/2013 - Permalink

Recruitment confidence in small businesses is on the rise

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Small businesses throughout the UK are hiring new staff as their confidence returns and the economy recovers.  Research carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses reveals that, for the first time in three years, companies are also more likely to hire new staff than to reduce the size of their workforce.  Here in Shropshire, where small businesses dominate the labour market, this is great news for those who are looking to secure employment or progress their careers. 

County Training, an established training provider which is part of Shropshire Council, has also noticed an increase in the amount of small businesses throughout Shropshire looking to recruit an apprentice. 

Jill Barcroft, County Training’s engagement manager, said:

“Apprenticeship vacancies have reached an all-time high, with an average of 50 positions available at any one time.  I would encourage more employers to take advantage of County Training’s free recruitment service and grants that are currently available up to the value of £1,500, to help us increase the number of opportunities for young people living in the area.” 

Research has highlighted that many employers offer apprenticeship places due to the benefits that apprentices bring to their business; these include increased productivity, improved competitiveness, and better staff retention, which results in a committed and competent workforce.  Training apprentices is also seen as more cost-effective than hiring pre-skilled staff, and employers are now recruiting apprentices to tackle any skills gaps. 

Apprenticeships are fast becoming the norm for school leavers, with increasing numbers choosing this work-based training programme as their first option.  This allows them to get an early start to a successful and sustainable career within their chosen area.  Apprentices earn a wage and work alongside other experienced staff members, which allows them to gain job-specific and transferable skills. 

Ann Hartley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children’s services, said: 

“Apprenticeship programmes are a great way for school leavers to earn while they learn, providing them with a fantastic head start to their working life.  It is really important that more employers throughout the county provide this sort of opportunity to young people, whilst reaping the benefits apprenticeships can bring to a business.” 

Studies have shown that employers rank apprentices the most employable out of all young people; this is because employers recognise the valuable skills apprentices learn, and develop from learning, within the workplace.  Past research has also shown that consumers prefer businesses which employ apprentices as part of their core workforce. 

Are you interested in taking on an apprentice?

County Training is part of Shropshire Council and was created to support businesses.  County Training are ideally placed to offer expert advice on the recruitment of apprenticeships, including being able to give you access to hundreds of young people who are currently looking for apprenticeship opportunities and are able to advise you on which apprenticeship programme would suit your business needs. 

County Training make taking on an apprentice easy, offering a free expert support service for employers, to guide employers through the whole process.  They also provide ‘apprenticeships vacancies’, a free online recruitment tool that matches potential apprentices with vacancies, and they have a dedicated business support team who will assist through the apprenticeships process from first enquiry to completion.  Eligible employers may be entitled to a grant of £1,000 to help with apprenticeship wage costs. 

Alternatively if businesses are unable to recruit new staff, but already employ someone aged 16 or above, then a business can still take advantage of the funding available to train your existing staff. 

Call County Training on 0345 678 9023 or email countytraining@shropshire.gov.uk.