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Government urged to take action on apprenticeships


Following the launch of National Apprenticeship Week, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling on the Government to ‘remove the barriers to employment’.


The lobby group has published a five step plan which it claims will help small firms to hire apprentices of all ages.


It includes proposals to provide allocated funding and financial incentives for micro-businesses and exempt small businesses from the ‘Time to Train' legislation, due to come into effect in April.


FSB National Chairman, John Walker, said: ‘Apprenticeships are valued very highly by small businesses, but [the] Government must recognise that it is the burden of employment law combined with a lack of information and guidance that stops small firms from taking an apprentice on.


‘With recent unemployment figures showing that the total number of under-25s out of work reached 951,000 in the three months to November, it is time for action.’


The Business Secretary Vince Cable recently announced the Government’s intention to increase the budget for apprenticeships to over £1.4bn in 2011/12.


Urging employers to help drive economic growth, Dr Cable said that the Government wanted to work with business to deliver 100,000 more apprentices by 2014.


‘Some of the most prestigious companies in England - large and small, public and private - employ apprentices and benefit from doing so,’ he added