Apprenticeships remain popular with businesses despite the pandemic

Norfolk has outstripped its county neighbours for digital start-ups in the past five years, accordin

Businesses are continuing to recruit apprentices despite facing challenges due to the pandemic - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Apprenticeships have remained strong despite the challenges created by the pandemic, a report has found.

Training Barometer, which was published by In-Comm Training, revealed that 67pc of companies had taken on apprentices during the last 12 months, while 97pc kept all their learners on despite the pressures of Covid 19. 

The firm, which provides apprenticeship and business services, also found that more than two thirds of businesses (70pc) are committed to taking on an apprentice over the next year, an increase from 41pc in 2021. 

Meanwhile, 69pc of businesses said they are giving staff the opportunity to progress learning all the way to a higher national certificate (HNC) or degree. 

Despite the resilience of apprenticeships, research has found that at a localised level there is still the potential for businesses to benefit from taking on new staff through this scheme. 

Research from Norfolk County Council found that more half of companies surveyed (52pc) had never had an apprenticeship for new or existing staff. 

However, 70pc of firms said that they were considering recruiting an apprentice in the next 12 months. 

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A further 68pc confirmed that a financial incentive would make a difference to them being able to recruit an apprentice. 

Katy Dorman, apprenticeship strategy manager at Norfolk County Council, said: “Our research shows that Norfolk employers have a keen appetite for apprenticeships and see them as a viable and worthwhile opportunity to bring new talent and skills into their organisations.

"Apprenticeships can also help businesses to grow and diversify which has been crucial as the economy begins to recover post-pandemic, so it is brilliant to see this encouraging response.

“Recent research from The St. Martins Group shows that even during training, apprentices can bring a return on investment of at least £2,500 and in some cases significantly more.

“Businesses tell us that they value the free, impartial advice and guidance offered by Apprenticeships Norfolk, as this helps to simplify the process of getting started and helps them to make the right decisions, specific for their business.

"With generous incentives available for employers in Norfolk, now is a great time to consider how a new apprentice could add value to your organisation and help you realise your ambitions for increased longer-term productivity and growth."

Vocational training offered by apprenticeships seems more apt than going to university for three yea

There are a number of financial incentives available to encourage businesses to recruit apprentices - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Further research from Norfolk County Council found that the five most common reasons local employers chose an apprenticeship are:

  • To help develop address a skills shortage/ageing workforce in organisation
  • To invest in new talent
  • Cost effective solution
  • To expand or upskill the workforce
  • To bring in fresh, new & innovative ideas.

To help encourage businesses to take on apprenticeships there are a number of funding options available. 

Firms cam currently claim £1,000 from the government when they employ an apprentice who is aged 16 to 18 years old, or if they are aged 19 to 24 years old and have previously been in care or have an education, health and care plan (EHCP). 

For businesses based in Norfolk there are local funding that they can apply for to help with the costs of hiring apprenticeships, including a £1,000 incentive grants, which can be applied for via Apprenticeships Norfolk.