As National Apprenticeship Week begins, Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, is calling on more local business to take on an apprentice, after new research has revealed that Reading West businesses are likely to have benefited to the tune of £2.2 million from hiring new apprentices in the last year.
The figure comes from a new report, published yesterday by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), which estimates that every time a local company hires an apprentice, their bottom line gets an average boost of £2,162. This happens immediately, while the apprentice is being trained, and represents the benefit after typical wage and training costs for the South East are deducted.
Last year, 1,030 people started an apprenticeship in Reading West. This means that new apprentices alone provided a local boost of around £2,227,000 in 2012/13.
Non-traditional areas like accounting now make up the majority of apprenticeships, demonstrating the huge expansion in the range and types available.
The number of apprentices has been increasing rapidly. Despite this, surveys show that 60% of small businesses are missing out because they do not know enough about how apprenticeships work. Many assume that they are difficult to administer and will involve a short-term cost.
Alok Sharma said: “Thanks to reforms made by the Government, it is much easier now to take on an apprentice and, as this report shows, there are clear benefits both to businesses and the local economy in doing so. I am proud that the Government has made boosting the number of apprenticeships a national priority and I hope that every local business will now consider taking on an apprenticeship.”
The Chief Executive of AAT, Jane Scott Paul, said: “I am delighted that Alok Sharma MP is encouraging more companies to employ an apprentice. Far from being a cost, apprentices bring benefits straight away. It’s really important that employers know there are apprenticeships for all shapes and sizes, including those in non-traditional sectors like accounting and law. That’s how apprentices boosted UK firms by £1.8 billion last year.”
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: “Delivering the best skills is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan for Britain. More apprenticeships mean more opportunities for young people, giving them financial security and Britain a better future.”