Government urged to give small firms training tax breaks

CIPD concerned about cost of apprentices for small businesses

As the government strives to increase the uptake of apprentices, a major business body has called for tax relief for small firms wanting to take one on.

Despite welcoming the government’s renewed efforts to expand apprenticeships in the UK, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) warned that many small businesses would struggle to meet the costs of taking on an apprentice.

The CIPD said that, although in-house training is often highly effective and valuable, taking on an apprentice can cost an employer ‘thousands’ and small firms should be entitled to more financial support.

The organisation has also applauded today’s announcement by the government that organisations such as McDonalds, Network Rail and Flybe plan to deliver in-house training programmes which will supposedly be equivalent to A-Levels.

John McGurk, CIPD’s learning, training and development adviser, commented: “With an increasing number of UK organisations facing acute recruitment and skills shortages, many employers see in house training and apprenticeships as a better means of addressing these than externally provided courses.”

However, businesses were warned that managers will need to play a crucial role in raising skills levels, and that strong leadership is needed to ensure businesses get the maximum value from training and qualifcations.

McGurk added: “Training and qualifications are central to upskilling employees and improving productivity. But any effort to increase skills has to be underpinned by good people management.”

“The assumption is that more training and qualifications automatically produces higher productivity. However skills development is much less effective if it is detached from people management practices such as job appraisal and reward.”

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2008






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