The 5% Club is proud to be commemorating its first anniversary this week.
To coincide with the anniversary, we conducted a survey with YouGov that explores small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) attitudes towards apprentices and graduates.
Given the vital role that these kinds of businesses play in sustaining the UK’s economy accounting for 99.9% of private business and employing 14.4 million people, their contribution is essential in tackling the issue of the three quarters of a million young people that are still unemployed, as well as helping to address the nation’s ability to compete globally.
Crucially, the survey reveals that 74% of SMEs do believe apprentices and graduates are important to their future, and 40% acknowledge the vital role that they play in upskilling young people. However, many believe there are barriers that prevent them from recruiting young people such as cash flow (30%) and a lack of talent and the appropriate criteria for the job specification (22%).
However, many more emphasize a need for a change in communication, in the relationships that SMEs have with young people. 62% suggest that greater awareness needs to be raised in schools and as part of careers guidance, and a further 59% say that they believe better connections between local businesses and schools or colleges would help to increase the amount of young people applying for apprenticeships and graduate training.
This is further supported by the fact that 44% of our surveyed SMEs think that young people considering these kinds of training schemes are more interested in those offered by bigger businesses. Alongside the respondent’s understanding that better communication could help encourage young recruits means that there is obviously a certain level of disconnect between young people and SMEs that needs to be addressed.
Yet there remains a reluctance to actually become part of the upskilling of young people, with the majority of SMEs admitting that they are not very likely to increase the amount of apprentices or graduates within the next year (74%).
The 5% Club believes this is what needs to be addressed in the coming year.
As we celebrate twelve months of successful campaigning, our survey with YouGov reveals that there is still much more to be done.
Whilst it illumines how valued apprentices and graduates are, as well as how valuable the SME truly is to young people and the British economy, it also demonstrates that our driving force, the need for British businesses to make a difference, is stronger than ever. British businesses, including SMEs need to take action quickly if we’re going to tackle the chronic skills shortage and youth unemployment prevalent in Britain today.
If you believe in young people and the SMEs that support our nation then why not join us as we enter our second year in campaigning for the recruitment of the next generation?
Join The 5% Club today and commit to the aim of ensuring that 5% of your workforce is made up of apprentices, graduates and sponsored students on structured programmes within the next five years.