London’s small and medium-sized businesses will be offered a cash incentive to create apprenticeships, it has been announced.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has secured £6m from the government to provide £1,500 to small firms which take on an apprentice, via the National Apprenticeship Service. Businesses can also get 100 per cent funding for their training expenses.
Johnson called on small firms to create apprenticeships to help the capital recover from the recession.
London’s SMEs have created most of the 63,7000 apprenticeships that have been set up since 2010 and Johnson has set a target of delivering 100,000 such schemes before the year is out.
“London’s small and medium-sized employers are the backbone of the economy and critical to creating jobs and powering us out of recession,” said Johnson.
“In the last 18 months they have really stepped up to the plate, delivering thousands of new apprenticeships across the city.
“However, there are many more still out there who are yet to benefit from this win-win situation and I urge them to find out about the financial support available and commit to taking on an apprentice.”
Johnson hopes to get businesses in sectors which have not traditionally taken onto apprenticeships to play their part. A number of major companies have already signed up, ranging from HSBC and Sony to the Football Association.
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) development manager for London Stuart Emmerson said: “Skills and employability is an area the FSB have campaigned strongly on for some time so we applaud the mayor’s efforts to tackle this issue and hopefully create new job opportunities for young people who are struggling to find work.
“However, whilst the FSB welcomes this announcement, many small businesses will continue to be hamstrung by a lack of access to affordable finance and cash flow.
“If growth in the small business sector and the wider London economy is to be sustainable then apprenticeships must be part of a wider package to support small businesses such as improving procurement opportunities, tackling business crime, providing more business support, removing unnecessary regulation and parking costs.
“The mayor has made a good start to his second term with this announcement and he recently showed his commitment to small businesses by signing up to our Real Life Entrepreneur Campaign celebrating small businesses, but further support will be needed if small businesses are to flourish across London.”
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