‘Have your say’ - employers urged to send message to Westminster

Martin Lake(centre) and business owners at the Forum to urge the region's business to complete a sur

Martin Lake(centre) and business owners at the Forum to urge the region's business to complete a survey, The Big Q, which will be taken to Westminster in November. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Employers have been urged to highlight the barriers preventing them from growing and employing more young people.

Their views, collected by The Big Q, will be presented to MPs in Westminster next month including Norwich North MP Chloe Smith.

The survey is a joint initiative from social enterprises Buy Local and Inspired Youth, and builds on the results of last year, which was the first time it was carried out.

Buy Local director Martin Lake said: 'As a business organisation we assume we know what the barriers are to growth. But it's always wrong to assume.

'The findings last year were extremely positive in that a huge percentage of businesses said they would like to expand and would consider taking on a young person. But they weren't aware of the help and support available to do that.

'This year it is a new parliamentary term with new MPs, and it is at the start of a parliament rather than at the end.'

The survey is also aimed to engage employers with young people, and help schools prepare students for the world of work.

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Inspired Youth founder Rob Whitwood said: 'What is interesting for me is the 'quality of young people as a barrier' has jumped to first place from the employers who have completed it already.

'It will get us having conversations with MPs and people in the local authority about how they are marketing things such as apprenticeships and the importance of work experience.

'I am going to be sitting down with headteachers and saying 'this is what we are looking for'.'

Some businesses also said finding out how to apply for grants for apprentices was confusing.

Louise Howlett, commercial director of RA Brown Heating Services, said: 'The Government keeps changing the goal posts for grants and subsidies. We can't keep up with what we're going to get.'

And Ms Howlett added a skills gap in the construction industry meant her firm was at capacity, with a growing wage bill. 'We are having to put our wages up to keep people,' she said.

To complete the survey visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/BigQNorfolk_2015

Is your business taking on new apprentices? Call Sabah Meddings on 01603 772879 or email sabah.meddings@archant.co.uk