Budget 2014 reaction: Apprenticeship grants

100,000 additional grants announced for small business employers – but what about other grant schemes?

One of the only stand-out announcements for businesses was the government’s plan to build on the growth of its Apprenticeship Grants for Employers (AGE).

Announcing an extra £85m in support, business owners will have access to an additional 100,000 grants to hire young people.

But how useful is that in practice for small companies?

Spencer Mehlman, managing director, Not Going to Uni

“To hear that more is being invested in businesses to enable them to take on and support apprentices is really great news.

“The young people who chose to go to university and end up in thousands of pounds worth of debt in the process can often end up regretting their decision. With apprenticeships, young people get the opportunity to earn whilst they learn which is much better for the economy.”

David Rudick, VP international markets, Indeed.com

“We are pleased to see the initiative announced today by the Chancellor to provide 100,000 new apprenticeships in support of the existing government framework to help more of Britain’s unemployed into work. There is no doubt that more needs to be done to smooth the transition between education and work for young people – a focus on apprenticeships is a welcome step in the right direction.”

Ben Halford, chief executive, Surface Generation

“We will have to see the details around plans to encourage more apprenticeships, and how this will affect the increasing shortage of quality engineers in this country.”

Mark Beatson, chief economist, CIPD

“While there was an extension of the current arrangements to increase the number of Apprenticeships, we didn’t see a sufficient level of ambition in raising the UK’s skills capabilities. We will continue to press the case for a fundamental review of UK skills policy.”

Brendan Flattery, CEO, Sage UK and Ireland

“Youth unemployment remains a major challenge in this country so it was encouraging to see the chancellor taking steps to address it.

“Extending the grants for an additional 100,000 apprenticeships, combined with abolishing National Insurance contributions for under-21s by 2015, are two significant measures that will make it more affordable for small firms to employ young people.”

Phil Orford, Chief Executive of the Forum of Private Business

“The Forum of Private Business is pleased to see an extension to the AGE grant to support small employers to take on more apprentices this year and in the next. This was a central ask of our budget submission; ensuring small businesses have the skills they need is essential to creating sustainable growth.

“Small businesses’ access to apprenticeship programmes must continue to remain at the forefront of the Government’s mind as it proceeds with its programme of apprenticeship reform.”

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